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FROM-THE- LIBRARY OF 
TR1NITYCOLLEGE TORONTO 




PRESENTED A.D. 

llrs^ David Ouchterlony 



-,...- 



a 

* 

~ 







FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 

Bust by Professor Karl Donndorf 



SELECTED LETTERS 

OF 

ERIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 

EDITED, WITH A PREFACE, BY 

DR. OSCAR LEVY 



AUTHORIZED TRANSLATION 
BY 

ANTHONY M. LUDOVICI 




GARDEN CITY, N. Y., AND TORONTO 

DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY 
1921 



t 



UGHT, 1921, BY 
DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, INCLUDING THAT OF TRANSLATION 
INTO FOREIGN LANGUAGES, INCLUDING THE SCANDINAVIAN 

X\ O f O A~ PRINTED AT GARDEN CITY, N. Y., U. 8. A. 

First Edition 

fMAY 1 6 1958 



PREFACE 

THIS volume of Friedrich Nietzsche s private 
correspondence consists of a selection from 
the five-volume edition published in Germany 
between the years 1900-1909. Private letters are now 
recognized all the world over as a most important 
supplementary trait to a literary man s portrait, re 
vealing as they do the more homely and intimate side 
of an author s mind and character. The special and 
additional value of Nietzsche s private correspondence 
consists in this, that here we have a writer of the most 
forbidding aspect, a prophet of almost superhuman 
inspiration, a hermit inhabiting a desert of icy glaciers, 
coming down, so to say, to the inhabited valley, to the 
familiar plain, where he assumes a human form and a 
human speech, where he exhibits a human heart and a 
human sympathy. He who still doubted that behind 
Nietzsche s violent denunciation of his age there was 
an ardent love of humanity and an eagerness to promote 
it to a nobler Destiny; he who still looked askance at 
a thinker whose ideas were thrown out hotly and 
abruptly like stones and lava out of an active volcano 
all the skeptics, in short, about Nietzsche, as well as 
all his enemies, will be interested to see from these 
letters that there was another Nietzsche, a Nietzsche who 
was a good friend, a devoted son, an affectionate brother, 
and a generous enemy, such as the literary history of 
the world with its quarrels and jealousies has not had 



VI 



PREFACE 



the good luck to encounter for a long time. The friends 
of Nietzsche and Nietzsche has many friends in all 
climes and amongst all races will be delighted to see 
their hero in the light of their own wishes and imagina 
tions, while the enemies of Nietzsche and he still has 
many and by no means unworthy enemies will be 
bound to confess what the Lutheran Pastor Colerus con 
fessed in his Life of the Philosopher Spinoza: "He 
may have been a man of no strict orthodoxy and an 
atheist into the bargain, but in the conduct of his 
life he was wise and good." 

There are two other legends which the publication 
of these letters will successfully destroy. One con 
cerns the great and often ventilated question of 
Nietzsche s mental condition and responsibility. It 
has been frequently stated that his final breakdown, 
which occurred in 1888, and which lasted till his death 
in 1900, was foreshadowed in his writings long ago, 
and that his "insanity" was the actual and only excuse 
for the philosopher s haughty contempt for and bilious 
criticism of his contemporaries. But where, in the 
light of these letters, is the insanity? That Nietzsche s 
nervous system was not as perfectly balanced as that 
of a boxer or cricketer may be truly conceded; what 
great writer was exempt from failings of the flesh? 
What great author has not paid with his nerves for 
those moments of happy inspiration and intoxication 
which gave his best work to posterity? "La Nevrose 
est la rangon du genie 9 ("Nervousness is the penalty 
of genius. ") But throughout these letters, which start 
in early youth and go to the last moment of his spiritual 
life, there is not the slightest trace of any lack of judg- 



PREFACE vii 

ment, and only once, towards the end, a sign of the 
threatening doom: everything, apart from this, is per 
fectly healthy and lucid, and even the curious last letter 
to Georg Brandes still gives a perfect sense. Why the 
cry of insanity should ever have been raised against 
Nietzsche is hard to understand, all the more so as a 
similar reproach has never been thought sufficient to 
discredit the work of other famous authors or philos 
ophers who happened to be visited by the same afflic 
tion. No one has ever doubted Swift s genius because 
his brain became clouded towards the end of his life, 
and August Comte, who actually published his prin 
cipal books after a confinement in a lunatic asylum 
and an attempted suicide in the Seine, is still a highly 
esteemed philosopher. 

But there is another and still more serious legend 
which should be destroyed by this publication. It is 
Nietzsche s reputed responsibility for the World War. 
We all remember that he together with some minor 
authors was accused of being the poisoner of the 
modern German mind whose former "idealism" and 
"romanticism" Nietzsche was said to have entirely 
perverted and led into unwholesome materialistic 
channels. Now it will be seen from these letters that 
there was no more outspoken critic of the German 
Empire and its crude and superficial "Kultur" than 
Friedrich Nietzsche. Throughout his whole life this 
lonely man fought against his Fatherland and for true 
enlightenment: for harmony between body and soul, 
between peoples and races, between authorities and 
subjects. It will be a revelation to many who are still 
under the influence of the singular misunderstanding 



viii PREFACE 

that nowhere was pre-war Germany more fiercely de 
nounced than in the writings of this German (who was, 
by the way, half a Pole), and who was, in fact, the first 
good European. 

The anti-Prussian, anti-German, anti-nationalistic 
current runs throughout the whole of Nietzsche s cor 
respondence. At the height of Germany s victory in 
1870 Nietzsche wrote from Bale (Nov. 7, 1870): 

"As regards the conditions of culture in the immediate future 
I feel the deepest misgivings. If only we are not forced to pay too 
dearly for this huge national success in a quarter where I at least 
refuse to suffer any loss. Between ourselves: I regard the Prussia 
of to-day as a power full of the greatest danger for culture" 

Nietzsche never wavered in his deep distrust and 
his fierce denial of Imperial Germany; when near the 
end of his spiritual life we still find him writing from 
Nice under date of February 24, 1887: 

"German politics are only another form of permanent winter 
and bad weather. It seems to me that Germany for the last 15 
years has become a regular school of besotment. Water, rubbish 
and filth, far and wide that is what it looks like from a distance. 
I beg a thousand pardons, if I have hurt your nobler feelings by 
stating this, but for me present-day Germany, however much it may 
bristle, hedgehog-like with arms, I have no longer any respect. It 
represents the stupidest, most depraved and most mendacious form 
of the German spirit that has ever existed. / forgive no one for 
compromising with it in any way, even if his name be Richard Wagner" 
etc. 

And this is the man who is said to have incited his 
countrymen to another war of conquest! 

But truth will out, even in literature. It does come 
out in this correspondence, which, it may be safely pre 
dicted, will mark the end of the "moral" crusade 
against one of the world s purest spirits. It will further- 



PREFACE ix 

more act as a stimulant to the Nietzsche controversy 
in England and America, just as in France Prof . Andler s 1 
book has revived the interest in the German philosopher. 
This last publication, which is meant to be a monu 
mental achievement in six volumes, is praised in the 
Literary Times of August 11, 1921, as "the recognition 
by an eminent French professorial writer of the genius 
of Germany." There is, however, a slight inaccuracy 
in this remark. The genius of Germany has made for 
barbarism, the genius of Nietzsche should make for 
culture. It is in this hope that this publication goes 
forth into an unsettled world 

OSCAR LEVY. 
ROYAL SOCIETIES CLUB, 

St. James s Street, 
London, S. W., 1. 

August, 1921. 



1 Nietzsche, sa Vie et sa Pensee, Vol. I. Les Prlcurseurt de 
Nietzsche. Par Charles Andler. (Paris, Bossard, 1920.) 



NOTES ON 

NIETZSCHE S CORRESPONDENTS. 

Baumgarten, Frau Marie. Wife of a well-known 
manufacturer in Lorrach in Baden. She translated 
"Thoughts Out of Season/ parts 3 and 4, into 
French, but only "Richard Wagner k Bayreuth" ac 
tually appeared. She died in 1897. 

Brandes, Georg, Danish author and critic of Euro 
pean and American reputation. He was born in 1842 
and is still living. 

Billow, Hans von, 1830-94, famous conductor and 
composer belonging to the Wagner-Liszt circle. First 
husband of Cosima Liszt, who afterwards married 
Richard Wagner. 

Burckhardt, Jacob, 1819-1897, the well-known art 
critic and historian, Professor at Bale University, 
author of "The Civilization of the Renaissance," the 
"Cicerone," etc. 

Deussen, Paul, one of Nietzsche s school-fellows at 
Pforta. He was born in 1845. He was an admirer of 
Schopenhauer and a student of Indian philosophy. 
He taught at Kiel University and died during the 
great war. 

Fuchs, Dr. Karl, a musician whose acquaintance 
with Nietzsche dates back to 1872. He lectured on 
"The Birth of Tragedy." 



xii NIETZSCHE S CORRESPONDENTS 

Gast, Peter, whose real name was Heinrich Kose- 
litz. A composer whose acquaintance with Neitzsche 
dates back to the publication of the "Birth of Trag 
edy." He was the most, nay the only, faithful of 
Nietzsche s friends. He died a few years ago in Wei 
mar. For exact details of this friendship see the 
preface which Peter Gast wrote to his edition of 
Nietzsche s letters (volume 4 of German edition, Insel 
Verlag, 1908). 

Gersdorff, Freiherr Karl von. One of Nietzsche s 
school-fellows at Pforta and a member of the landed 
aristocracy. He became later on a Royal Chamber 
lain. 

Knortz, Karl, Professor in Evansville (Indiana, 
U. S. A.), who tried to transmit to Americans the 
latest publications of German literature including the 
Nietzschean philosophy. 

Krug, Gustav, one of the earliest intimates of 
Nietzsche, a member of a distinguished Naumburg 
family. He became a high government official and 
died in Freiburg in Breisgau in 1902. 

Meyseribug, Malvida von, born 1816, sister of the 
Badenian statesman, Freiherr von Meysenbug. She 
lived since 1848 in London and was governess in the 
house of Alexander Herzen. She was acquainted with 
Garibaldi, Richard and Cosima Wagner, Nietzsche, 
Liszt, Princess Wittgenstein, etc. Her principal book 
is "Memoiren einer Idealistin." She died in Rome, 
1903. 

Luise 0., Madame. A young and very beautiful 
Alsatian woman, who was married and lived in Paris. 



NIETZSCHE S CORRESPONDENTS xiii 

"My brother s letters to her are couched in a wanner 
language than those of mere friendship," says Frau 
Forster Nietzsche, "but they are nevertheless full of 
delicacy and chivalrous tenderness." 

Ritschl, Friedrich Wilhelm, 1806-1876, famous 
philologist, Professor at Bonn and Leipzig, whose 
pupil Nietzsche was at the latter university. It was 
Ritschl who recommended the young Nietzsche to the 
University of Bale, where he became a professor at 
the early age of 24. 

Seydlitz, R. Freiherr von. His friendship with 
Nietzsche dates from July, 1876, when they met at 
Bayreuth. For further details of this friendship see 
Seidlitz s article in the "Neiie Deutsche Rundschau/ 9 
June, 1899. 

Strindberg, August, born 1849, the famous Swedish 
author, scholar and playwright. He died in 1912. 

Taine, Hippolyte, 1821-1893. French critic and 
historian, best known to English readers by his his 
tory of English literature and "Les Origines de la 
France contemporaine" 



SELECTED LETTERS OF 

FKIEDKICH NIETZSCHE 



SELECTED LETTERS 

NIETZSCHE To His SISTER. 

Naumburg, March 30, 185f\ 
DEAR ELIZABETH : 

A mother is writing to you to-day I am sending 
you a short note to put with hers. First of all, 
let me describe our journey. On the way to 
Weissenfels there was nothing I objected to more than 
the piercing wind, and in this respect my two coats 
served me in good stead. We reached the station 
almost an hour before the train came in. In the sta 
tion buffet I read the Vossische Zeitung, which had a 
good deal to say about the Imperial baby. 1 It is said 
to have three nurses and three governesses, one of the 
former having allowed him to fall. The nurse in ques 
tion fainted immediately, but the child is supposed 
to have given vent to a shriek loud enough for a child 
a year old. He has already received two orders: the 
Cross of the Legion of Honour, and one other military 
order. Mother asked for a glass of sugared water 
just as the train entered the station. We quickly ate 
the sugar and wanted to get away to our train, but 
were stopped by the waiter who wanted change. We 
could not settle with him until at length he gave me 
one more sugar cake. We could scarcely find any 
room in the train, but at last found two seats. On 
reaching Naumburg we drove in with Bocher. When 
we reached the door of the house, little Eosa, Mine, 

1 Thc on of Napoleon III was born on March 16, 1856. 

1 



2 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

and Ottos were standing there and were very glad to 
see us back; but grandmamma said she would have 
been ever so pleased if you had been with us. You 
will certainly be delighted with Pobles, for it is a very 
pretty place. I suppose you often play at ball and 
will be able to hit it better than I can when you come 
back. I have just heard that William is very ill ; he 
has rheumatic fever. I wanted to take him an orange, 
but was not allowed to see him. So I went to Gustav, 
who was very much delighted with the paper for the 
walls of the forts. He thanks you very much indeed 
and greatly admires the cheapness of things in Magde 
burg. My school time-table has been changed a good 
deal, for my lessons start at 7. I have not yet played 
with the soldiers, but will do so soon. I often wish I 
were at Pobles, too, and thank our grandparents very 
heartily for the nice stay I had there. Remember me 
most affectionately to them and also to Uncles Ed 
mund, Theobald, Oscar, and to our aunts. Keep well 
and write frequent letters to your brother, 

FRIEDRICH WILHELM NIETZSCHE. 



NIETZSCHE To His MOTHER. 

Pforta, 1 November 11, 1859. 

DEAR MAMMA : 

At last I have time to answer your nice letter. I 
also have something to tell you to-day that will in 
terest you, and that is how our Schiller festival went 



Nietzsche had been a pupil at the famous school of Pforta 
since 1858. Translator. 



F R I E D R I C H NIETZSCHE 3 

off. Wednesday, November 9, was "Lie-a^bed day 1 
as usual, but in the afternoon at 4 o clock there was 
a fine celebration, for which preparations had been 
going on for some time. First of all, at 3.30 p. m. all 
the Pforta teachers and their wives, at 3.45 the whole 
coetus, and at 4 p. in. all the people of Naumburg, 
who flocked in greater numbers than ever before, 
arrived in the gymnasium, which was decorated quite 
festively. The boys of the Sixth Form opened the per 
formance with a reading of the Piccolomini. Profes 
sor Koberstein chose the part of Wallenstein himself 
and read it magnificently.. Then "The Bell," com 
posed by Romberg, was sung with piano and violin 
accompaniment. It was wonderfully successful, and 
everybody was very much moved, particularly by the 
fine chorus, in "Freedom and Equality it is heard to 
toll," etc. (I have been in the ladies choir some time 
now, and had the joy of rehearsing this peace with 
them.) The following day was also "Lie-a bed day," 
with lessons until 9.30 a, m. ; then followed another 
celebration in the gymnasium, beginning with the 
choir, Frisch auf Kameraden. Then came the recita 
tion of original poems written by Upper School boys 
about various incidents in Schiller s life. Herzog and 
von Gohring then sang, "Before His Lion-garden" and 
"Oh, From Out This Valley s Grounds," with piano 
accompaniment, and then Professor Koberstein 
stepped on to the platform. He gave an excellent 



"Lie aTbed day" (Ausschlafetag) was the day in the week 
on which the boys were allowed to get up half an hour later 
than usual (5 a. m. in summer and 6 a. m. in winter) in order 
to devote themselves to private studies the whole day (E.F.N. s 
note.) 



4 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

address, in which he laid particular stress upon the 
fact that it was a hopeful sign for Germany that the 
birthdays of her great men were becoming ever more 
and more the occasions for national festivities which, 
in spite of the political disunion of the country, were 
welding her into a single whole. Then followed a 
good feed with roast goose and cakes, after which we 
were allowed to go out for a walk until 3 o clock. I 
called on Aunt Rosalie, who gave me a cup of choco 
late. In the evening the Sixth Form had a dance, but 
the rest of us had music in the ballroom. Now, wasn t 
that a fine festival? I am delighted with your idea 
of returning to Naumburg at Christinas and am much 
looking forward to that lovely time. 

Your FR. W. NIETZSCHE. 

NIETZSCHE To His MOTHER. 

Pforta, February, 1862. 
DEAR MAMMA : 

So you have sent dear Lizzie right away for some 
considerable time, and she will certainly wish to be 
back and will not feel very much at home in the great 
city of Dresden. You yourself must have spent some 
beautiful days there, particularly owing to your recol 
lections of bygone times; for, as the years roll by, 
everything that once caused us pleasure or surprise 
becomes a precious memory. And it must have cost 
you something to say good-bye to Lizzie and to Dres 
den of that I am well aware. As to how she is 
settled there, I know nothing; write me a long and 
exhaustive letter. Indeed, we might both of us write 
more exhaustively to each other, as there is no need 



FBIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 5 

now for you to spend so much of your time over your 
house duties. 

I only hope she has been sent to a thoroughly good 
school. I cannot say I like Dresden very much ; it is 
not grand enough, and in detail, even in its language, 
it is too Thuringian in character. If she had gone 
to Hanover, for instance, she would have become ac 
quainted with customs, peculiarities, and a language 
of an absolutely different order. It is always a good 
thing, if one does not wish to become too one-sided, 
to be educated in different places. Otherwise, as a 
city of art, as the seat of a small court, and generally 
for the purpose of completing E. s education, Dresden 
will be quite suitable, and to some extent I envy her. 
Still, I believe that in my life I shall have oppor 
tunities enough of enjoying experiences of the kind 
she is having. Altogether I am very anxious to hear 
how Elizabeth gets on in her new surroundings. There 
is always a certain element of risk in such schools. 
But I have thorough confidence in Elizabeth. If only 
she could learn to write a little better! When she 
is describing anything, too, she must try and avoid all 
those "Ahs!" and "Ohs!" "You cannot imagine how 
magnificent, how marvellous, how bewitching, etc., it 
was," etc. she must drop this sort of thing, and very 
much more that she will, I hope, forget in refined 
company and by keeping a sharp lookout on herself. 
Now, dear Mamma, on Monday you will come out 
here, won t you? The performance is from 4 to 7 p. m. 
I have asked Dr. Heinze for a ticket. I should be 
awfully glad if you would send me half a mandala 
each of sugar and eggs, because for our rehearsals, 



6 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

which are held twice a day and three times on the 
day of the performance, some such treatment for the 
voice is absolutely necessary. 

Farewell, dear Mamma ! 

Your FRITZ. 

( Marginal note. ) As you will have plenty of time 
for reading now, I would recommend Auerbach s 
"Barfiissele." I was highly delighted with it. 

NIETZSCHE To His MOTHER. 

Pforta, November 10, 1862. 
DEAR MAMMA: 

I am very sorry that I was not able to meet you 
at Almrich yesterday, but I was prevented from com 
ing by being kept in. And thereby hangs a tale which 
I will tell you. 

Every week one of the newest Sixth Form boys has 
to undertake the duties of schoolhouse prefect that 
is to say, he has to make a note of everything in the 
rooms, cupboards, and lecture rooms that requires 
repair, and to send up a list of his observations to 
the inspection office. Last week I had to perform 
this duty, and it occurred to me that its somewhat 
tedious nature might be slightly relieved by the exer 
cise of a little humour, and I wrote out a list in which 
all my observations were couched in the form of jokes. 1 
The stern masters, who were very much surprised 
that anyone should introduce humour into so solemn 



The remarks were very harmless, for instance: "In such 
and euch a lecture room the lamps burn so dimly that the boys 
are tempted to let their own brilliance shine." "The forms of 
the Fifth Form Room have recently been painted and manifest 
an undesirable attachment for those who sit upon them." 



FKIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 7 

an undertaking, summoned me to attend the Synod 
on Saturday and pronounced the following extraor 
dinary sentence: Three hours detention and the 
loss of one or two walks. If I could accuse myself 
of any other fault than that of thoughtlessness, I 
should be angry about it; but as it is I have not 
troubled myself for one moment about the matter, and 
have only drawn this moral from it : To be more care 
ful in future what I joke about. 

To-day is Martinmas Day, 1 and we have had the 
usual Martinmas goose for dinner (in twelve parts, 
of course). St. Nicholas Day, too, will soon be here. 
This period of transition from autumn to winter is a 
pleasant time; it is the preparation for Christmas 
which I enjoy so much. Let us thoroughly enjoy it 
together. Write to me soon. My love to dear uncle 

and Lizzie. 

FRITZ. 

NIETZSCHE To His MOTHER. 
Thursday Morning, Pforta, April, 1863. 
DEAR. MOTHER : 

If I write to you to-day it is certainly about the 
saddest and most unpleasant business that it has ever 
been my lot to relate. For I have been very wicked 
and do not know whether you will or can forgive me. 
It is with a heavy heart and most unwillingly that I 
take up my pen to write to you, more particularly 
when I think of our pleasant and absolutely unruffled 
time together during the Easter holidays. Well, last 
Sunday I got drunk and have no excuse but this, that 

The birthday of Martin Luther. Translator. 



8 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

I did not know how much I could stand and that I 
happened to be somewhat excited that afternoon. 
When I returned, Herr Kern, one of the masters, 
came across me in that condition. He had me called 
before the Synod on Tuesday, when I was degraded 
to third of my division and one hour of my Sunday 
walk was cancelled. You can imagine how depressed 
and miserable I feel about it, and especially at having 
to cause you so much sorrow over such a disgraceful 
affair, the like of which has never occurred in my life 
before. It also makes me feel very sorry on the Rev. 
Kletschke s account, who had only just shown me such 
unexpected confidence. 1 Through this one lapse I 
have completely spoilt the fairly good position I suc 
ceeded in winning for myself last term. I am so 
much annoyed with myself that I can t even get on 
with my work or settle down at all. Write to me 
soon and write severely, for I deserve it ; and no one 
knows better than I do how much I deserve it. 

There is no need for me to give you any further 
assurances as to how seriously I shall pull myself 
together, for now a great deal depends upon it. I had 
once again grown too cocksure of myself, and this self- 
confidence has now, at all events, been completely 
shaken, and in a very unpleasant manner. 

I shall go and see the Rev. Kletschke to-day and 
have a talk with him. By-the-bye, do not tell anyone 
anything about it if it is not already known. Also, 
please send me my muffler as soon as possible, for I 
am constantly suffering from hoarseness and pains in 



*He had just made Nietzsche his assistant. Translator. 



FEIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 9 

my chest. Send me the comb too that I have spoken 
about. Now, good-bye and write to me very soon, and 
do not be too cross with me, mother dear. 
Your very sorrowful 

FRITZ. 

NIETZSCHE To His MOTHER. 

Pforta, May, 1863. 
DEAR MOTHER : 

As regards my future, it is precisely my practical 
doubts about it that trouble me. The decision as to 
what subject I shall specialize in will not come of 
its own accord. I must, therefore, consider the ques 
tion and make my choice, and it is precisely this 
choice which causes me so many difficulties. Of 
course, it will be my endeavour to study thoroughly 
anything that I decide to take up, but it is precisely 
on this account that the choice is so difficult ; for one 
feels constrained to choose that branch of study in 
which one can hope to do something complete. And 
how illusory such hopes often are; how often does 
one not allow oneself to be transported by a momen 
tary prepossession, or by an old family tradition, or 
by one s own personal wishes, so that the choice of a 
calling seems like a lottery in which there are a large 
number of blanks and very few winning numbers. 
Now, I happen to be in the particularly unfortunate 
position of possessing a whole host of interests con 
nected with the most different branches of learning, 
and, though the general gratification of these interests 
may make a learned man of me, they will scarcely 
convert me into a creature with a vocation. The fact, 



10 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

therefore, that I must destroy some of these interests 
is perfectly clear to me, as well as the fact that I must 
allow some new ones to find a home in my brain. But 
which of them will be so unfortunate as to be cast 
overboard? Perhaps just the children of my heart! 

I cannot express myself more plainly ; it is evident 
that the position is critical and I must have come to 
a decision by this time next year. It certainly won t 
come of its own accord, and I know too little about 
the various subjects. 

Best wishes to you all. 

FRITZ. 

NIETZSCHE To His MOTHER AND SISTER. 

Elberfeld, Sept. 27, 1864. 
DEAR MAMMA AND LIZZIE : 

From the look of my handwriting you are to gather 
that I am writing to you from a business house. I 
am thinking how glad you will be to have news of 
me so soon, particularly as I have only good and 
pleasant things to tell you. Of course, what I should 
have liked most of all would have been to tell you 
everything by word of mouth, but the time seems long 
past when this wish might have been gratified. 

There was nothing very beautiful or interesting 
about the journey; first of all, a number of sleepy and 
snoring travelling companions, then some very talka 
tive, noisy and common ones, followed by factory 
hands and business men or very exacting old ladies; 
I could tell a funny story about each one of these 
varieties. 

We arrived at about 11 o clock at night feeling 



FEIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 11 

sleepy and somewhat peevish. Believe me, one feels 
amazingly tired after such a long day s journey. We 
put up at Briinning s, at the house of two ladies who 
were not so very old and their brother, who was in 
bed with gastric fever. We refreshed ourselves with 
bread and wine, went to bed, slept splendidly, got up 
late, had our breakfast consisting here, as every 
where, of fine rolls and slices of Pumpernickel bread 
and then we called on the Rohrs and found Johanna 
and Marie at home both nice girls but not quite my 
style; they were a little tasteless in their dress. Of 
course, one must not forget that they are under the 
care of a very pious old lady, with whom on the fol 
lowing day I became involved in a long discussion 
about the theatre, "the work of the Devil," and held 
my ground very well, but only succeeded in earning 
her compassion for one who held such views as mine 
We have been invited to coffee there to-day. Well, on 
Sunday I made the acquaintance of Ernest Schnabel, 
an exceedingly attractive young business man ; as you 
know, he is Deussen s well-known and more favoured 
rival; and I also met Friedrich Deussen, who has a 
post in a business firm here. In the afternoon we 
went up together into the hills that encircle Elber- 
feld. Imagine a beautiful long valley, the valley of 
the Wupper, through which a number of ill-defined 
straggling towns, one of which is Elberfeld, extend 
like a mighty chain of factories, and you have a pic 
ture of these parts. The town is commercial in the 
extreme, and most of the houses are slate roofed. I 
notice that the women here have a particular predi 
lection for drooping their heads in a pious way. The 



12 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

girls dress very smartly in little coats very tight at 
the waist, like that Polish girl from Kosen. The men 
all display a fondness for light brown, their hats, 
trousers, etc., all being of that colour. After we had 
been to several restaurants on Sunday, we spent the 
evening most congenially at Ernest Schnabel s, where 
we stayed till 11 p. m. He gave us an extremely fine 
Moselle to drink "Pastor s Moselle Drink," .as Ernest 
called it. My improvising at the piano had a great 
success, and my health was most solemnly drunk. As 
Lizzie would say, Ernest is "perfectly enchanted." 
Wherever I am, I have to play and everybody cries 
"Bravo!" It is ludicrous. Yesterday we drove to 
Schwelm, a neighbouring watering place; we visited 
the red hills, a famous site of the ancient WestphaHan 
Vehme court, and we had a drink everywhere. 

In the evening, at the inn, I played without know 
ing it in the presence of a famous orchestra conductor, 
who stood there afterwards gasping with wonder and 
said all sorts of nice things to me. He also begged 
me to join his choral society that evening a thing I 
did not do. Instead I drove back and was invited to 
dine with the Schnabel family. They are nice, good 
people. Mrs. Schnabel is delightful, and her husband 
is a decent, pious, conservative business man. They 
have the most excellent food, and the drinks are even 
better, but their dishes are different from ours. They 
eat Gruyre cheese and Pumpernickel bread three 
times a day. 

. . . Now, good-bye, good-bye! Hearty remem 
brances to Aunt Rosalie. 

Your FRITZ. 



FRIEDBICH NIETZSCHE 13 

NIETZSCHE To His MOTHER AND SISTER. 

Bonn, November 10, 1864. 
DEAR MAMMA AND LIZZIE : 

. On Sunday we were en masse in Sieburg, 
where we marched through the streets cheering, 
danced, and returned rather late. An hour ago I was 
at an exceedingly distinguished concert; it was an 
extraordinary display of wealth. All the ladies were 
dressed in bright red, 1 and English was spoken all 
over the hall; I don t speak English. 2 Admittance 
cost three marks, but as I am one of the performers 
it cost me nothing. But to make up for things I went 
there dressed as smartly as possible, with a white 
waistcoat and kid gloves. 

I seem to write an inordinate number of letters, 
and yet I get none except from you. Have Gersdorff 
and Kuttig been to see you? Remember me to them 
and also to the dear Naumburg aunts. 

Ever with devotion and love. 

Your FRITZ. 

NIETZSCHE To His MOTHER AND SISTER. 

Bonn, End of February, 1865. 

Saturday. 
MY DEAR MAMMA AND LIZZIE : 

The lovely time of the holidays draws ever nearer, 
and I must confess that my longing to see you again 
grows keener every day. You might shortly start 
making the preparations for my arrival, for I shall 



The fashionable colour at the time. E.F.N. 
*The words in italics are in English in the original. Trans 
lator. 



14 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

be with you soon after the middle of next month. The 
more disagreeable the weather is now, the more do I 
like to dwell upon the beautiful days at Easter, and 
naturally I have never felt so happy at the thought of 
the holidays as I feel now. How delightful life will 
seem for me in your dear company, compared with 
the life I lead here, so destitute of all family associa 
tions! In addition to that, I shall be near so many 
dear friends, and to dear old Pforta, to which we old 
Pforta boys are so absurdly attached. 

I imagine the whole of this passage will make you 
feel a little wistful; but unfortunately I must dis 
sipate this mood for you by referring to the inevitable 
and irksome question of money. Among other things 
now I am going to the most desperate efforts to make 
two ends meet, and, like the Treasury, on drawing up 
my budget for the year I arrive only at the most 
hopeless results. Among the financial coups I have in 
view is the plan of moving out of my present lodgings 
next term, giving up the hire of a piano in order to 
put it quite plainly to cut down expenses. One 
learns a tremendous lot in one term, even in the realm 
of material things; but it is a pity that one has to 
pay so dearly for these lessons. But now I will close 
these pathetic and bathetic details by begging you, 
dear Mamma, to send me the money for the next two 
months in a lump sum of not less than 240 marks, to 
include my railway fare. Altogether I am not in 
favour of monthly instalments; they inevitably lead 
one into debt. Up to the present I have only been in a 
position to settle the most pressing debts of the previ 
ous month by means of these monthly instalments and 



PRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 15 

have scarcely ever had any cash in hand. Generally 
speaking, it is quite out of. the question for me to hope 
to get on at Bonn on less than 1,200 marks, and that 
was the amount my guardian promised me at the 
beginning of my university life. If you only knew 
how we live here you would understand this. It is 
the minimum amount possible in the circumstances. 

So now I have said all I had to say on this matter, 
although I know perfectly well that it will not please 
you any more than it pleases me. Why can t I settle 
all this direct with my guardian? These things spoil 
my beautiful letters! And now let me beg of you 
once more not to fail me and thus plunge me into 
difficulties from which I could and should have to 
extricate myself only by borrowing the money in 
some way. 

And now let us banish all care from our brow and 
chat pleasantly for a while. The things I have to 
tell you naturally accumulate more and more every 
day. . . . 

I pass here among the students, etc., as something 
of an authority on music, and as a queer customer 
into the bargain, like all old Pforta boys in the Fran- 
conia. 1 I am not disliked at all, although I am apt to 
scoff a little and am considered as somewhat ironical. 
This estimate of my character, according to the 
opinions of other people, will not be without interest 
to you. For my part I must add that I do not agree 
to the first particular, that I am frequently unhappy 
and that I have too many moods and am rather in- 

The Franconia was the Students Corps that Nietzsche 
joined. Translator. 



16 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

clined to be a nagging spirit (Qutilgeist) not only to 
myself, but also to others. 

And now good-bye ! For Heaven s sake send me the 
money in good time, and remember me to our dear 
relatives. With hearty thanks for your nice letters 
and begging you still to think kindly of me in spite of 
this one, 

FRIEDBICH WILHELM NIETZSCHE. 

To FEEIHEER KARL VON GERSDORFF. 

Bonn, May 25, 1865. 
DEAR FRIEND: 

To begin with, I must own that I have been simply 
longing for your first letter from Gottingen, not only 
out of friendship, but also because of its psychological 
interest. I was hoping that it might reflect the im 
pression just made upon you by the life led in the 
Students Corps, and I felt certain that you would 
speak out quite frankly on the subject. 

Now, this is precisely what you have done, and I 
thank you most heartily. At present, therefore, I 
share your excellent brother s views on this matter; 
I can only admire the moral strength with which you 
have plunged into dirty muddy water and even exer 
cised your limbs in it, in order to learn to swim in 
the stream of life. Pardon the cruelty of the meta 
phor, but I think it meets the case. 

Besides, there is this important point to remember : 
if a man wishes to understand his age and his con 
temporaries, he must be something of a colour student. 
Societies and associations, together with the ten 
dencies they represent, generally reveal with almost 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 17 

perfect exactitude the type of the next generation of 
men. Moreover, the question of the reorganization 
of the circumstances of student life is urgent enough 
to deter the individual from investigating and judging 
the conditions from his own particular experience. 

Of course, we must take care that we ourselves do 
not become too deeply influenced during the process 
of our research; for habit exercises a prodigious 
power. A man has already lost a good deal when 
he can no longer feel any moral indignation at the 
reprehensible actions daily perpetrated in his circle. 
This is true, for instance, of drink and drunkenness, 
and also of the disrespect and scorn with which other 
men and other opinions are treated. 

I readily admit that, up to a point, I had very much 
the same experiences as yourself, that the spirit of 
conviviality on drinking evenings often discomfited 
me exceedingly, that there were fellows whose "beer 
materialism" made them utterly repulsive to me; 
whilst the appalling arrogance with which in a twink 
ling men and opinions were disposed of en masse used 
to irritate me beyond endurance. Nevertheless I was 
content to bear with the Association, not only because 
it taught me a good deal, but also because I was, on 
the whole, compelled to acknowledge the intellectual 
life which formed a part of it. On the whole, though, 
a more intimate relationship with one or two friends 
is a necessity, and, provided one can enjoy this,, the 
rest can be reckoned as a sort of seasoning included 
in the fare some as salt and pepper, others as sugar, 
and yet others as nothing at all. 

Once again let me assure you that all you have told 



J.8 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

me about your struggles and anxieties only enhances 
my esteem and love for you. 

This term I have to prepare our archaeological work 
for the college. Then I also have a bigger piece of 
work to do for the Science evening of our Burschen- 
schaft [Corps] about the political poets of Germany. 
I hope to learn a good deal from this, but I shall also 
have to do a tremendous amount of reading and col 
lect plenty of material. Above all, however, I must 
set about preparing a more important philological 
work, the subject of which I have not yet decided, in 
order to qualify for admittance to the college at 
Leipzig. 

Incidentally I am now studying Beethoven s Life 
in the biography by Marx. I shall also perhaps do 
a little composing again, a thing which this year I 
have so far strenuously avoided. I have also stopped 
versifying. The Rhineland Musical Festival takes 
place this Whitsun at Cologne. Do come over from 
Gottingen for it! The principal items on the pro 
gramme are: Israel in Egypt, by Handel; Faust 
Music, by Schumann; The Seasons, by Haydn, etc., 
etc. I am taking part in it. Immediately after it 
the Cologne International Exhibit will be opened. 
You will find all further details in the papers. 

Well, old man, fare thee well! 

I rejoice at the thought of our next meeting. I wish 
you plenty of good cheer and bright spirits, and, above 
all, a man who can be something to you. Excuse my 
execrable writing and my ill humour about it. You 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 19 

know how wild I get over it and how my thoughts 
then come to a standstill. 

Your devoted friend, 

FR. NIETZSCHE. 
Bonn, Ascension Day, 1865. 

NIETZSCHE To His MOTHER. 

Bonn, June 30, 1865. 

Friday Morning. 
DEAR MAMMA: 

. I am very much disgusted by the bigoted 
Roman Catholic population here. Often I can scarcely 
believe that we are in the nineteenth century. Not 
long ago it was Corpus Christi Day. Processions 
after the style of that of the Church Festival ; every 
body very finely got up and therefore full of vanity, 
and yet going into all kinds of pious contortions, 
croaking and groaning old women, tremendous squan 
dering of incense, wax candles, and festoons of flowers. 
On the afternoon of the same day a genuine Tyrolean 
company gave a concert with the usual affected natu 
ralness and the stereotyped emotions in the rendering 
of the Andreas Hofer 1 song. 

You will have read in the papers about the Rhine- 
land festival. As everybody knows, the Rhineland 
was annexed to Prussia fifty years ago. The King, 
the General Staff, and several Ministers attended the 
ceremony. The papers speak of the enthusiasm and 

This refers to Andreas Hofer, who led the rising of the 
Tyrolese against Napoleon in 1809. He was ultimately deliv 
ered into the hands of the French by a traitor, and Napoleon 
ordered him to be shot. Translator. 



20 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

rejoicing of the people. As I was in Cologne at the 
time, I can form my own estimate of these rejoicings. 
I was amazed by such coldness on the part of the 
masses. But I really cannot see where the enthusiasm 
for the King and his Ministers should come from at 
this particular juncture. All the same, externally 
the ceremony was extremely imposing. The Ehine, 
the bridge over it, the innumerable hotels on the 
banks, the towers, and the mighty cathedral all ablaze 
with illuminations, a continuous deafening boom of 
guns and muskets, myriads of fireworks all let off at 
the same time at various points all these seen from 
the opposite bank produced an almost magical im 
pression. It would be impossible to imagine a finer 
effect for an opera. The King in a steamer sailed up 
and down stream in the midst of it all ; the youth of 
Cologne created enthusiasm by singing the Duppel 
march 1 ; the masses cheered at the sight of such fine 
things, and the monarch was well pleased. 

I saw some fine uniforms there, my dear Lizzie. 
But the old generals who wore these beautiful clothes 
strolled through the streets smiling good-naturedly; 
for they had happily survived the Duppel engagement 
of a copious dinner and were all very drunk with 
victory. 

Not long ago we that is to say, the Franconians 
had a Comm-crtt* with two other student associations, 
the Helvetia and the Marchia. Oh ! what bliss ! Oh ! 



*It was at Duppel that the decisive battle was fought be 
tween the Germans and the Danes (April, 1864). 

-This is the name given to a bibulous meeting of a German 
students Association. Translator. 



FRIED RICH NIETZSCHE 21 

the marvellous exploits of the Students Association ! 
Do we represent the future of Germany? Are we not 
the nursery of German parliaments? "It is some 
times difficult," says Juvenal, "to refrain from writ 
ing a satire." 

I think I have already told you that we have 
changed the colours in our caps. We now wear fine 
red south-westers, with gold braid and broad black 
chin straps. 

. Remember me to dear Lizzie and all our 
relatives and friends. 

Your affectionate 

FRITZ. 

To FBEIHERR KARL VON GERSDORFF. 

Naumburg, April 7, 1866. 
DEAR FRIEND: 

Now and again one enjoys hours of peaceful reflec 
tion when, with mingled gladness and sorrow, one 
seems to hover over one s life just as those lovely sum 
mer days, so exquisitely described by Emerson, seem 
to lie stretched out at ease above the hilltops. It is 
then, as he says, that Nature is perfect, and we feel 
the same ; then we are free from the spell of the ever- 
vigilant will; then we are nothing but a pure, con 
templative and dispassionate eye. 1 It is in a mood 
such as this a mood desirable above all others that 
I take up my pen to reply to your kind and thoughtful 
letter. The interests we share have become welded 



remark reveals Schopenhauerian influence. Trans 
lator. 



22 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

together to the smallest particle; once again we have 
realized that mere strokes of the pen in fact, even 
the most unexpected whims in the past of a few in 
dividuals determine the history of countless numbers 
of others; and we readily leave it to the pious to 
thank their God for these accidents. We may per 
haps laugh at this thought when we meet again in 
Leipzig. 

I had already made myself familiar with the thought 
of being a soldier. I often wished that I might be 
snatched from my monotonous labours ; I yearned for 
the opposite extreme to my excitement, to the tem 
pestuous stress of my life and to the raptures of my 
enthusiasm. For, despite all my efforts, it has been 
brought home to me more clearly every day that it is 
impossible to shuffle such work out of one s coat sleeve. 
During the holidays I have learnt, relatively speaking, 
a good deal, and now they are at an end. My Theognis 
finds itself at least one term further forward. I have, 
moreover, made many illuminating discoveries which 
will considerably enrich my quacstioncs Theognideae. 1 

For recreation I turn to three things, and a won 
derful recreation they provide! my Schopenhauer, 
Schumann s music, and, finally, solitary walks. Yes 
terday a heavy storm hung in the sky, and I hastened 
up a neighbouring hill, called Leusch (perhaps you 
can explain the word to me?). On the summit I 
found a liut and a man killing two kids, with his son 

Theognis, the aristocratic poet of Megara, awoke 
Nietzsche s interest even when he was still at Pforta. Trans 
lator. 



FBIEDBICH NIETZSCHE 23 

looking on. The storm broke with a mighty crash, 
discharging thunder and hail, and I felt inexpressibly 
well and full of zest, and realized with singular clear 
ness that to understand Nature one must go to her 
as I had just done, as a refuge from all worries and 
oppressions. What did man with his restless will 
matter to me then? What did I care for the eternal 
"Thou shalt" and "Thou slialt not"? How different 
are lightning, storm and hail free powers without 
ethics! How happy, how strong they are pure will 
untrammeled by the muddling influence of the 
intellect ! 

For have I not seen examples enough of how mud 
dling a man s intellect frequently is? Not long ago 
I had occasion to speak to a man who was on the 
point of going out to India as a missionary. I put 
a few questions to him and learned that he had not 
read a single Indian work, knew nothing about the 
Upanishads not even their name and had resolved 
to have nothing to do with the Brahmaus because they 
had philosophical training. Holy Ganges! 

To-day I listened to a profoundly clever sermon of 

s on Christianity the Faith that has conquered 

the world. It was intolerably haughty in its attitude 
towards all nations that were not Christian, and yet 
it was exceedingly ingenious. For instance, every 
now and then he would describe as Christian some 
thing else, which always gave an appropriate sense 
even according to our lights. If the sentence, "Chris 
tianity has conquered the world," be changed to "the 
feeling of sin," or briefly "a metaphysical need has 
conquered the world," we can raise no reasonable ob- 



24 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

jection ; but then one ought to be consistent and say, 
"All true Hindus are Christians," and also "All true 
Christians are Hindus." As a matter of fact, how 
ever, the interchange of such words and concepts as 
these, which have a fixed meaning, is not altogether 
honest; it lands the poor in spirit in total confusion. 
If by Christianity is meant "Faith in an historical 
event, or in an historical personage," I have nothing 
to do with it. If, however, it is said to signify briefly 
a craving for salvation or redemption, then I can set 
a high value upon it, and do not even object to its 
endeavouring to discipline the philosophers. For how 
very few these are compared to the vast masses of 
men who are in need of salvation ! How many of them 
are not actually made of the same stuff as these 
masses! If only all those who dabble in philosophy 
were followers of Schopenhauer ! But only too often 
behind the mask of philosopher stands the exalted 
majesty of the "Will," which is trying to achieve its 
own self-glorification. If the philosophers ruled 
SO^UY^ oi 1 would be lost ; were the masses to prevail, 
as they do at present, the philosophers rari in gurgite 
rasto* would still be able, like Aeschylus, 8ix aMoov 
cpQoveetv. 3 

Apart from this, it is certainly extremely irksome 
to restrain our Schopenhauerian ideas, still so young, 
vigorous and half expressed; and to have weighing 



The Masses. 

Few survivors in the unmeasured seas." From the famous 
verse in Virgil s Aeneid, I. 118. Translator. 

""To differ from the opinions of others." See Aeschylus, 
Agamemnon 757. Translator. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 25 

forever upon our hearts this unfortunate disparity 
between theory and practice. And for this I can think 
of no consolation ; on the contrary, I am in need of 
it myself. 

And now farewell, old man! Remember me to all 
your family. Mine wish to be remembered to you; 
let us leave it at that. When we meet again we shall 
probably smile, and rightly too ! 

Yours, 

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 

To FREIHERR KARL VON GERSDORFF. 

Leipzig, End of January, 1867. 
MY DEAR FRIEND : 

At the beginning of January at Naumburg I too 
stood at the deathbed of a near relative. Next to my 
mother and sister, this dear lady had the greatest 
claim on my love and veneration. She had always 
displayed the most devoted interest in my career, and 
with her I seem to have lost a whole piece of my past 
and especially of my childhood. And yet, when I 
received your letter, my poor dear afflicted friend, I 
was overcome by a much deeper grief. The difference 
between the two deaths seemed so enormous. There, 
in Naumburg, a life replete with good deeds had at 
last been consummated, and despite a weakly constitu 
tion had at least lasted well into old age. We all had 
the feeling that the strength both of her mind and 
her body was exhausted, and that only for our love 
had death come too soon. But what have we not lost 
by the death of your brother, before whom I too stood 
in such constant admiration and respect! 



26 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

We have lost one of those rare noble Roman natures 
about whom Rome at her zenith would have boasted 
and of whom you, as his brother, have an even greater 
right to be proud. For how seldom does our wretched 
age produce such heroic figures ! But you know what 
the ancients thought on the subject: "Those whom 
the gods love die young." 

What wonders such a power might have achieved! 
As a pattern of self-peliant and glorious endeavour, 
as an example of a decided character true to himself 
and indifferent to the world and its opinion, what 
strength and comfort he might have afforded to thou 
sands caught in life s wild vortex! I am well aware 
that this vir bonus in the best sense meant even more 
to you ; that, as you often used to tell me in the past, 
he constituted the ideal to which you aspired, your 
fixed guiding star amid all the tortuous and difficult 
highways and byways of life. His death has probably 
been the severest blow that could possibly have over 
taken you. 

Now, dear old man, you have realized so I gather 
from the tone of your letter through your own bitter 
experience, why our Schopenhauer extols suffering 
and affliction as indispensable to a splendid destiny, 
as the 88iJT8Qog jiAoijc; 1 to the denial of the Will. You 
have also felt and experienced the chastening, 
inwardly becalming, and bracing power of pain. This 
has been a time during which you have yourself tested 
the truth of Schopenhauer s doctrine. If the fourth 
book of his principal work now makes a disagreeable, 



The next best way. Translator. 



FKIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 27 

gloomy, and tedious impression upon you; if it has 
not the power to bear you triumphantly beyond all 
the terrible outward pain into that sweetly melan 
choly but happy mood which possesses us at the sound 
of lofty music, into that mood in which one sees one s 
earthly shell fall from one, then it is possible that 
even I, too, may have nothing more to do with his 
philosophy. Only he who is brimful of anguish can 
pronounce the decisive judgment on such matters. We 
others, standing in the middle of the stream of life 
and things, and longing for the Denial of the Will 
merely as for the island of the blest, cannot judge 
whether the consolations of such a philosophy are 
adequate for times of deep sorrow. 



I conclude with a hearty farewell and a quotation 
from Aristotle: 

ti Y<*Q ecrtiv av&QWJToi;; daOeveiag {JTCO- 
xaiQou AdqpvQov, ruxng Jtaiyviov, 
g eixcov, q)ftovou xal 



Your devoted and likewise stricken friend, 

FRIEDBICH NIETZSCHE. 



" For what is man? A token of weakness, the spoil of 
time, the sport of fortune, the image of change, the plaything 
of envy and chance." (The translator has been unable to trace 
this passage in Aristotle.) 



28 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

To FREIHERR KARL VON GERSDORFF. 

Leipzig, February, 1867. 
DEAR FRIEND: 

If you are not in a mood to listen to a host of weird 
things, just put this letter aside and reserve it for 
another occasion. 

Pious people believe that all the suffering and mis 
haps that come their way have been sent to them with 
the most careful premeditation, in order that this or 
that thought, such and such a resolution or under 
standing might be kindled in them. We lack the very 
first principles on which such a faith is based. It 
does lie in our pow r er, however, to suck every event, 
every trivial or serious mishap, dry and to turn it to 
account for our improvement and discipline. The pre 
destined character of every individual s fate is no 
myth if we understand it in this sense. What we 
have to do is intentionally to turn our fate to account, 
for events are, in themselves, but insignificant acces 
sories to this end. It all turns upon our personal 
attitude. An event has no more value than we choose 
to invest it with. Thoughtless and unmoral people 
know nothing of this purposefulness of fate. Events 
make no lasting impression upon them. We, however, 
wish to learn something from them, and the more our 
knowledge of moral affairs increases and the more 
complete it becomes, the more surely will the events 
of our life link themselves up into a fast-bound ring, 
or will at least seem to do so. You know, old man, 
what I mean by these remarks. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 29 

And now, with the expression of my mother s, my 
cousin s and my own sincere sympathy, I will take 
my leave of you for to-day. 

Yours affectionately, 

F. N. 

To FEEIHERR KARL VON GERSDORFF. 

Naumburg, April 6, 1867. 
MY DEAR FRIEND: 

Heaven alone knows the cause of my long silence, 
for I am never more thankful or more happy than 
when your letters arrive to give me news of your do 
ings and your spirits. 

During the holidays I intend to make a written 
record of my work on the sources of Diogenes Laertius, 
though I am anything but far advanced. For your 
amusement let me confess what it is that gives me the 
most pain and trouble my German style ( not to men 
tion my Latin ) . But I have come to an understanding 
with my mother tongue, so foreign languages cannot 
fail to follow suit. The scales have fallen from my 
eyes; too long had I lived in stylistic innocence. The 
categorical imperative, "Thou shalt and must write," 
has called me to my senses. Truth to tell, I made an 
attempt I had never made since my Gymnasium days 
namely, to write well and suddenly my pen seemed 
to become paralyzed in my hand. I could do nothing 
and felt very angry. Meanwhile my ears rang with 
Lessing s, Lichtenberg s, and Schopenhauer s precepts 
on style. It was a constant comfort to me to know 
that these authorities were unanimous in declaring 



30 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

that to write well was a difficult matter, that no man 
was born with a good style, and that in order to ac 
quire the capacity one had to work hard and keep 
one s nose to the grindstone. God forbid that I should 
write again in such a wooden, dry style and with so 
much logical tightlacing as I did in my Theognis essay, 
for instance, on the cradle of which none of the Graces 
ever lighted (on the contrary, it was more like the 
distant booming of the cannon at Koniggratz). 1 It 
would be hard indeed not to be able to write better 
than this when one longs so ardently to do so. The 
first thing to do is to let a number of bright and lively 
spirits loose upon one s style; I must play upon it 
as if it were a keyboard. But I must not play the 
things I have learnt, but improvise freely, as freely 
as possible, and yet with logic and beauty. 

Secondly, I am disturbed by another wish. One of 
my oldest Naumburg friends, Wilhelm Finder, is just 
going in for his first Law examination you and I 
know the qualms inseparable from such a time. But 
what attracts me and even tempts me to follow suit 
is not the examination itself, but the preparation for 
it. How valuable and uplifting it must be to let all 
the disciplined elements of one s science march past 
one in the space of about six months, and thus obtain 
for once a general view of the whole ! Is it not exactly 
as if an officer, accustomed always to the mere drilling 
of his company, were suddenly to behold in battle the 
magnificent fruit his small efforts could bear? For 



*A reference to the great battle fought between the Aus- 
trians and the Prussians at this place about nine months before 
this letter was written. Translator. 



FEIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 31 

it cannot be denied that the uplifting general view 
of antiquity is altogether lacking in most philosophers 
because they stand too close to the picture and 
examine a spot of oil instead of admiring and, what 
is more, enjoying the broad and bold outlines of the 
composition as a whole. When, I ask you, shall we 
at last realize that pure enjoyment in our studies of 
antiquity about which, alas ! we have so often talked? 
Thirdly, the whole of our method of working is 
horrible. The hundred and one books lying on the 
table before me are only so many pincers consuming 
all the vitality out of the nerve of independent 
thought. I verily believe, old man, that with a bold 
hand you have selected the best possible lot that is 
to say, an active contrast, a reversed standpoint, an 
absolutely different attitude towards life, mankind, 
work, and duty. By this I do not mean to praise your 
present calling, as such, but only in so far as it con 
stitutes the negation of your former life, together with 
its object and its point of view. Amid such contrasts 
body and soul keep healthy, and none of those inevi 
table morbid symptoms appear which in the scholar 
are caused by a preponderance of intellectual, and, 
in the clodhopper, by a preponderance of bodily exer 
cise. Of course, the morbidity manifests itself dif 
ferently in each. The Greeks were no scholars, but 
neither were they brainless athletes. Are we, there 
fore, necessarily bound to exercise a choice between 
the one or the other way of living? Is it not possible 
that with Christianity a division was made in this 
realm of man s nature also, which the nation of har 
mony knew nothing about? Ought not every scholar 



32 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

to blush at the thought of Sophocles, who, dis 
tinguished as he was in the domain of the spirit, was 
vet able to dance with grace and understood the art 
of playing at ball? But we stand towards these things 
as we stand towards life in general ; we readily recog 
nize an evil condition, but we do not raise a finger 
to get rid of it. And here I might easily begin a 
fourth lamentation, but in the presence of my martial 
friend I will refrain. For a warrior must be much 
more nauseated by these jeremiads than a home-bird 
like myself. 

Incidentally I have just called to mind a recent 
experience that offers a very good illustration of the 
scholar s morbid symptoms. As such it might per 
haps be hushed up, but it will amuse you because it 
is nothing more than the translation of Schopen 
hauer s essay "On Professors of Philosophy" into real 
life. 

In a certain town a young man endowed with quite 
extraordinary intellectual gifts, particularly in the 
direction of philosophical speculation, made up his 
mind to obtain a Doctor s degree. With this object 
in view, he gathered together the threads of his sys 
tem "Concerning the Fundamental Delusion of Rep 
resentation," which he had laboriously thought out 
for years, and was very happy and proud at the result. 
With these feelings surging in his breast, he submitted 
the work to the Philosophical Faculty of the place, 
which happened to be a university town. Two pro 
fessors of philosophy had to give their opinion on his 
production, and this is how they acquitted themselves 
of the task: The first said that, though the work 



PBIEDRIOH NIETZSCHE 

showed undoubted intellectual power, it did not advo 
cate the doctrines taught at his institution ; and the 
second declared that not only did the views not cor 
respond with the common understanding of mankind, 
but they were also paradoxical. The work was con 
sequently rejected, and its author did not receive his 
Doctor s degree. Fortunately the rejected candidate 
was not humble enough to recognize the voice of wis 
dom in this verdict nay, he was sufficiently presump 
tuous to maintain that this particular Philosophical 
Faculty was lacking in the philosophical facultas. 

In short, old man, one cannot pursue one s path too 
independently. Truth seldom resides in the temple 
men have built in her honour, or where priests have 
been ordained to her service. The good work or the 
rubbish we produce we alone have to pay for, not 
those who have given us their good or their foolish 
advice. Let us at least have the pleasure of scoring 
our blunders off our own bat. There is no such thing 
as a general recipe for the assistance of all men. One 
must be one s own doctor and gather one s medical 
experience on one s own body. As a matter of fact, 
we give too little thought to our own welfare; our 
egoism is not shrewd enough, our reason not selfish 
enough. 

With this, old man, let me now take my leave of 
you. Unfortunately I have nothing "solid" or "real," 
or whatever the current phrase among young business 
men is, to report; but you will certainly not regret 
that. 

Your devoted friend, 

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 



34 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

To FREIHEER KARL VON GERSDORFF. 

Naumburg, December 1, 1867. 
DEAR FRIEND: 

I am a bombardier in the second mounted division 
of the Fourth Horse Artillery. 

You may well imagine how astonished I was by 
this revolution in my affairs, and what a violent up 
heaval it has made in my everyday humdrum exist 
ence. Nevertheless I have borne the change with de 
termination and courage, and even derive a certain 
pleasure from this turn of fortune. Now that I have 
an opportunity of doing a little aaxrjai? I am more 
than ever thankful to our Schopenhauer. For the 
first five weeks I had to be in the stables. At 
5.30 in the morning I had to be among the horses, 
removing the manure and grooming the animals down 
with the currycomb and horse brush. For the present 
my work lasts on an average from 7 a. m. to 10 a. m. 
and from 11.30 a. m. to 6 p. m., the greater part of 
which I spend in parade drill. Four times a week 
we two soldiers who are to serve for a year have to 
attend a lecture given by a lieutenant, to prepare us 
for the reserve officers examination. You must know 
that in the horse artillery there is a tremendous 
amount to learn. We get most fun out of the riding 
lessons. My horse is a very fine animal, and I am 
supposed to have some talent for riding. When I and 
my steed gallop round the large parade ground, I 
feel very contented with my lot. On the whole, too, 

Athletic training. Translator. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 35 

I am very well treated. Above all, we have a very 
nice captain. 

I have now told you all about my life as a soldier. 
This is the reason why I have kept you waiting so 
long for news and for an answer to your last letter. 
Meanwhile, if I am not mistaken, you will probably 
have been freed from your military fetters; that is 
why I thought it would be best to address this letter 
to Spandau. 

But my time is already up; a business letter to 
Volkmann and another to Ritschl have robbed me of 
much of it. So I must stop in order to get ready for 
the parade in full kit. 

Well, old man, forgive my long neglect, and hold 
the god of War responsible for most of it. 
Your devoted friend, 

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, 

Bombardier. 

To ROHDE. 

Naumburg, February 1-3, 1868. 
MY DEAR FRIEND : 

It is Saturday, and the day too is drawing to a 
close. For a soldier the word "Saturday" is full of 
magic charm and of a feeling of quiet and peace of 
which as a student I had no idea. To be able to sleep 
and dream peacefully, without one s soul being 
taunted by the terrifying picture of the morrow; to 
have overcome and done with another seven days of 
that excitement in uniform which is called a year s 
soldiering what simple and at the same time deep 
joys such things awaken joys worthy of a cynic and 



36 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

attained by us almost too cheaply and easily. I now 
understand that first and greatest Saturday afternoon 
mood, in which that easy and satisfied phrase 
jrdvta Mav xaXd 1 was pronounced; in which coffee 
and a pipe were invented, and the first optimist 
stepped into life. In any case, the Hebrews who 
concocted and believed this beautiful story were 
warriors or factory hands; they were certainly not 
students ; for the latter would have proposed six days 
holiday and one workday in the week, and in practice 
would have converted even this into a holiday like the 
rest. At all events, that was my practice ; and at the 
present moment I feel the contrast between my pres 
ent life and my former scientific loafing very strongly 
indeed. If it were only possible to muster all the 
philologists of ten years together and drill them army 
fashion into the service of science, at the end of ten 
years the science of philology would no longer be 
necessary, because all the principal work would have 
been done. And, moreover, it would no longer be pos 
sible, because no man would join these colours volun 
tarily, colours with which the idea of the "one-year 
volunteer 5 cannot be associated at all. 

As you see, a Saturday makes one talkative, because 
we have to be silent all the rest of the week and are 
accustomed to regulate the capacities of our souls ac 
cording to our superior officer s word of command. 
That is why on Saturdays, when the eye of the master 
is removed, words gush forth from our lips and sen 
tences pour out of the ink-pot especially when the 



*See Genesis I., 31, "And God saw everything that he had 
made and, behold, it was very good." Translator. 



FEIEDEICH NIETZSCHE 37 

fire is crackling in the grate and outside you hear 
the roar of a February storm, heavy with the promise 
of Spring. Saturday, a storm, and a warm room 
these are the best ingredients with which to brew the 
punch of a "letter- writing mood." . . 

My present life, my dear friend, is really very lonely 
and friendless. It offers me no stimulation that I do 
not myself provide ; none of that harmonious concord 
of souls which many a happy hour in Leipzig used to 
afford; but rather, enstrangement of the soul from 
itself, preponderance of obsessional influences, which 
draw the soul up tightly with a sense of fear, and 
teach it to regard things with an earnestness that 
they do not deserve. This is the seamy side of my 
present existence, and you will certainly be able to 
enter into my feelings about it. Let us, however, turn 
it round the other way. This life is certainly uncom 
fortable, but enjoyed as an entremets, absolutely use 
ful. It makes a constant call on a man s energy and is 
relished particularly as an dvriSoTOV 1 against para 
lyzing scepticism, concerning the effects of which we 
have observed a good deal together. Moreover, it helps 
one to become acquainted with one s own nature, 
as it reveals itself among strange and generally rough 
people, without any assistance from science and 
without that traditional goddess Fame which de 
termines our worth for our friends and for society. 
Up to the present I have remarked that people are 
well disposed toward me, whether they happen to be 
captains or plain gunners ; for the rest I do my duty 

Antidote. Translator. 



58 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

with zeal and interest. Is it not something to be 
proud of, to be regarded as the best rider among thirty 
recruits? Verily, dear friend, that is more than a 
philological prize, although I am not insensible even 
to the kind of encomiums that the Faculty of Leipzig 
thought fit to bestow upon me. . . . 

Ah, my dear friend, what a child of misfortune 
is a field artilleryman when he has literary tastes into 
the bargain. Our old god of War loved young women, 
not shrivelled old Muses. A gunner who often enough 
in his barrack room sits upon a dirty stool meditating 
upon Democritean problems, while his boots are being 
polished for him, is really a paradox on whom the 
gods must look with scorn. . . . 

When I tell you that I am on duty every day from 
7 in the morning to 5 in the evening, and that in ad 
dition I have to attend lectures given by a lieutenant 
and a vet respectively, you can imagine what a sorry 
plight I am in. At night the body is limp and tired 
and seeks its couch in good time. And so it goes on 
without respite or rest, day after day. What becomes 
of the reflection and contemplation necessary for sci 
entific cogitation in the midst of it all? 

Even for things which are still more dear to me 
than my literary needs, for the delights of a friendly 
correspondence and for art, I so seldom have a free 
moment. Just let me be once more in full enjoyment 
of my time and my strength 

Si male nunc, non olim sic erit. 1 



J If things are bad today, at some future time they may be 

* T> YI e-lo -frt^* 



better. Translator 



FBI ED RICH NIETZSCHE 39 

And next year I go to Paris. 

Your devoted friend, 

FB. NIETZSCHE. 

To FREIHERR KARL VON GERSDORFF. 

Naumburg, February 16, 1868. 
DEAR FRIEND: 

As I have already told you my military duties take 
up much of my time, but they are on the whole tol 
erable. I am still particularly fond of riding, and 
my zeal for it is kept alive by the praise I receive on 
all sides. From the officers I hear that I have a good 
seat and thus make a good display. Believe me, old 
man, I never thought I should have an opportunity 
of growing vain about this sort of thing. Suffice it 
to say that my desire to perfect myself in this fine but 
difficult art is very strong indeed. If you should hap 
pen to come to Naumburg for the Pforta School Fes 
tival, you will be able to appreciate my achievements. 
I am afraid you will have a good laugh when you 
see me shouting my orders. But I still have a good 
deal to learn before I can pass the officers exam. 



Yours, 

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 

To FREIHERR KARL VON GERSDORFF. 

Naumburg, June 22, 1868. 
MY DEAR FRIEND : 

To-day all my comrades in arms have left me. They 
are on the way to Magdeburg for gun practice. So 
I am about the only gay-coated creature within the 



40 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

walls of Naumburg an abandoned broken-winged 
stork that with envy in its heart has seen all its more 
powerful fellows fly right away. Yes, old man, the 
rumour that has already reached you by many a tor 
tuous path is for the best (i.e., the worst) part true: 
I did not end my military career quite happily. 

I had survived the winter and also the most difficult 
and unpleasant half of my year s service; they had 
made me a bombardier and were well pleased with my 
behaviour. When the fine weather came and I was 
able to ride my horse round the huge parade ground 
I too was beginning to breathe more freely. Towards 
the end I was riding the most restive and fiery animal 
in the battery. One day I failed in attempting a 
smart spring into the saddle ; I gave my chest a blow 
on the pommel and felt a sharp rend in my left side. 
But I quietly went on riding, and endured the in 
creasing pain for a day and a half. On the evening 
of the second day, however, I had two fainting fits, 
and on the third day I lay as if nailed to my bed, 
suffering the most terrible agony and with a high tem 
perature. The doctors declared that I had torn two 
of the muscles of my chest. In consequence of this 
the whole system of chest muscles and ligaments was 
inflamed, and severe suppuration had supervened ow 
ing to the bleeding of the torn tissues. A week later, 
when my chest was lanced, several cupfuls of matter 
were removed. From that time onward, three whole 
months, the suppuration has never ceased, and when 
at last I left my bed, I was naturally so exhausted 
that I had to learn to walk again. My condition was 
lamentable; I had to be helped in standing, walking 



FEIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 41 

and lying down, and could not even write. Gradually 
my health improved, I enjoyed an invigorating diet, 
took plenty of exercise and recovered my strength. 
But the wound still remained open and the suppura 
tion scarcely abated. At last it was discovered that 
the sternum itself had been grazed and this was the 
obstacle to recovery. One evening I got an undeniable 
proof of this, in the form of a little piece of bone 
which came out of the wound with the matter. This 
has happened frequently since, and the doctor says 
it is like to occur frequently again. Should a large 
piece of bone be detached a slight operation would be 
imperative. The trouble is by no means dangerous, 
but it is exceedingly slow. The doctors can do noth 
ing but help nature in her work of elimination and 
fresh growth. In addition to this I make frequent in 
jections of camomile tea and silver nitrate every day 
and take a warm bath. Our staff doctor will shortly 
pronounce me "temporarily disabled," and it is not 
improbable that I may always suffer from some weak 
ness round about the wound. 

As soon as I was able to wield a pen again I 
plunged once more into my studies, of which I send 
you a sample in the enclosed little Dance Song. 

Yours, F. N. 

To FRAU RITSCHL. 

Wittekind, Beginning of July, 1868. 
DEAR FRAU RITSCHL : 

. . . The day before yesterday at noon I reached 
the pretentious little village spa called Wittekind 



42 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

It was raining hard and the flags that had been hung 
out for the spa festival were looking limp and dirty. 
My host, an unmistakable rogue with opaque blue 
spectacles, came forward to meet me and conducted 
me to the apartment I had engaged six days before. 
Everything about this room, including an absolutely 
mouldy sofa, was as desolate as a prison. I very soon 
realized too that this same host employed only one 
servant maid for two houses full of visitors which 
probably means from twenty to forty people. Before 
the first hour had elapsed I had a visit, but so dis 
agreeable a one that I was only able to shake it off by 
means of the most energetic courtesy. In short the 
whole atmosphere of the place I had just entered was 
chilly, damp and disagreeable. 

Yesterday I took stock a bit of the place and its in 
habitants. At table I had the good fortune to sit 
near a deaf-and-dumb man and a number of extraor 
dinary-shaped females. The place does not seem bad, 
but one can go nowhere and see nothing owing to the 
rain and the damp. Volkmann called and prescribed 
the local baths for me. He also spoke of an operation 
in the near future. 

How grateful I am to you for having given me 
Ehlert s book. 1 I read it on the first evening of my 
stay reclining on the mouldy sofa in my wretchedly 
lighted room, but it gave me much pleasure and 
inner warmth. Unkind tongues might say the book 
is written in an agitated and inferior style. But the 
work of a musician cannot possibly be that of a man 



This work is Louis Ehlert s Briefe iiber Musik an tine 
Freundin. Translator, 



FEIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 43 

who uses his eyes in art. At bottom it is music though 
it happens to be written not in notes but in words. 
A painter must experience the most painful sensations 
on beholding all this confusion of images crowded 
together without any method. But unfortunately I 
have a weakness for the Paris feuilleton, for Heine s 
Reisebilder, etc., and prefer a stew to roast-beef. 
What pains it has cost me to pull a scientific face in 
order to write down a jejune train of thought with 
the requisite decency and alia breve. Your husband 
can even sing a song about this (not to the tune it is 
true of "Ach lieber Franz, nocli, yn etc.), for he was 
very much surprised at the lack of "style." In the end 
I felt like the sailor who feels less secure on land than 
in a rocking ship. But perhaps I shall one day dis 
cover a philological theme that will permit of musical 
treatment, and then I shall splutter like a suckling 
and heap up images like a barbarian who has fallen 
asleep before an antique head of Venus, and still be 
in the right in spite of the "flourishing speed" 2 of the 
exposition. 

And Ehlert is almost always right. But to many 
men truth is irrecognizable in this harlequin garb. 
To us who hold no page of life too serious to allow 
of our sketching some joke in fleeting arabesque upon 
it, this is not so. And which of the gods can feel any 
surprise if we occasionally behave like satyrs and 



This refers to a song beginning "Ach lieber Franz, nock 
einen Tanz" that Professor Ritschl when he was in a cheerful 
mood liked to sing in memory of his youth. Translator. 

a An expression in Ehlert s book above mentioned. Trans 
lator. 



44 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

parody a life that always looks so serious and pa 
thetic and wears buskins? 

If only I could manage to conceal my weakness 
for dissonance from you ! Answer me frankly have 
you not already a terrible sample of it? Here you 
have a second. Wagner s and Schopenhauer s club 
feet are difficult to conceal. But I shall improve. And 
if ever you should allow me to play you something 
again, I shall embody my memory of that beautiful 
Sunday in tones, and then you will hear what you 
only read to-day, to wit, what a tremendous deal that 
memory means to a bad musician, etc. 

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 

To FREIHERR KARL VON GERSDORFF. 

Nauniburg, August 8, 1868. 
DEAR FRIEND : 

At last I can give you absolutely reliable news of 
my health and quite the best you could wish to hear. 
A few days ago I returned quite recovered from the 
baths at Wittekind, where I went in order to place 
myself in the able and experienced hands of Prof. 
Volkmann, the distinguished Halle surgeon. My regi 
mental doctors were ood and candid enough to ad 
vise me to consult this specialist, and after three 
weeks of the Wittekind cure, the somewhat painful 
healing process developed so favourably that Volk 
mann congratulated me and said I should now recover 
very quickly. In the end an operation was not neces 
sary, although for a long while it had threatened to 
be so. Just think, old man ! five months illness, much 
tedious pain, profound bodily and spiritual depres- 



FRIED RICH NIETZSCHE 45 

sion, and desperate prospects for the future all this 
has been overcome! All that remains to remind me 
of my dangerous condition is a single deep scar over 
the bone in the middle of my chest. Volkmann told 
me that if the suppuration had lasted much longer 
as it was it lasted three months my heart or my 
lungs would probably have been affected. 

It is obvious that I cannot resume my military 
duties. I am pronounced "temporarily disabled," and 
I hope, as I have been prevented from becoming an 
officer of the Reserve, I shall contrive slowy and grad 
ually to vanish from the list of those liable to serve. 

Your devoted friend, 

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 

To ROHDE. 

Naumburg, October 8, 1868. 
MY DEAR FRIEND : 

. . . Not long ago I was reading (and that at 
first hand) Jahn s Essays on Music, as well as his 
essays on Wagner. A certain amount of enthusiasm 
is required to do justice to such a man, but Jahn 
shows instinctive repugnance and listens with his 
ears half closed. Nevertheless I agree with him in 
many respects, particularly when he says he regards 
Wagner as the representative of a modern dilettant 
ism which is sucking up and digesting all art inter 
ests. But it is precisely from this point of view that 
one cannot cease wondering at the magnitude of each 
artistic gift in this man and his inexhaustible energy 
coupled with such a versatility of artistic talent. For 



46 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

as to "culture", the more variegated and extensive it 
happens to be, the more lifeless is usually the eye, 
the weaker are the legs and the more effete are the 
brains that bear it. 

Wagner has, moreover, a range of feeling which lies 
far beyond Jahn s reach. Jahn remains a "Grenz- 
lote" 1 hero, a healthy man, to whom the Tannhauser 
saga and the atmosphere of Lohengrin are a closed 
book. My pleasure in AVagner is much the same as 
my pleasure in Schopenhauer the ethical air, the 
redolence of Faust, and also of the Cross death and 
the tomb. . . . 

Your old friend, 

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, 

Prussian Gunner. 

To ROHDE. 

Leipzig, November 9, 1868. 
MY DEAR FRIEND : 

To-day I intend to relate a whole host of sprightly 
experiences, to look merrily into the future and to 
conduct myself in such idyllic and easy fashion that 
your sinister guest that feline fever will arch its 
back and retire spitting and swearing. And in order 
that all discordant notes may be avoided I shall dis 
cuss the famous res set-era 2 which is responsible for 
your second letter on a special sheet of paper, so that 



l Grenzbote (frontier messenger) is the title of a review 
published in Leipzig. Its editor and contributors acquired the 
nickname of Gesunden (healthy ones) owing to their attitude 
of indifference to the more subtle manifestations of imagina 
tive genius. Translator. 

"Serious thing." Translator. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 47 

you will be able to read it when you are in the right 
mood and place for it. 

The acts of my comedy are : ( 1 ) A Club-night or the 
Assistant Prof essor ; (2) The Ejected Tailor; (3) A 
Rendezvous with X. Some old women take part in 
the performance. . . . 

At home I found two letters, yours and an invita 
tion from Curtius, whom I am glad to get to know 
better. When two friends like us write letters to 
each other, it is well known- that the angels rejoice. 
And they rejoiced as* I read your letter aye, they 
even giggled. . . . 

When I reached home yesterday I found a card 
addressed to me with this note upon it: "If you 
would like to meet Richard Wagner, come to the 
Theatre Cafe at a quarter to four. Windisch". 

Forgive me, but this news so turned my head that 
I quite forgot what I was doing before it came, and 
was thoroughly bewildered. 

I naturally ran there and found our loyal friend, 
who gave me a lot of fresh information. Wagner 
was staying in Leipzig with his relations in the strict 
est incognito. The press had no inkling of his visit 
and all Brockhaus s servants were as dumb as graves 
in livery. Now Wagner s sister, Frau Brockhaus, 
that determined and clever woman, had introduced 
her friend Frau Ritschl to her brother, and on this 
occasion was able proudly to boast of the friend to 
the brother and of the brother to the friend, the 
lucky creature! Wagner played the Meisterlied, 
which you must know, in Frau RitschPs presence, and 
this good lady told him that she already knew the 



48 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

song very well, mea opera. 1 Imagine Wagner s joy 
and surprise! And with the utmost readiness in the 
world he graciously declared his willingness to meet 
me incognito. I was to be invited on Friday evening. 
Windisch, however, pointed out that I should be pre 
vented from coming by my official post and duties, 
Saturday afternoon was accordingly proposed. On 
that day Windisch and I ran to the Brockhaus s, 
found the Professor s family but no Wagner. He 
had just gone out with an enormous hat on his huge 
head. It was thus that I made the acquaintance of 
the excellent family and received a kind invitation for 
Sunday evening. 

On these days I felt as though I was living in a 
novel, and you must allow that in view of the inac 
cessibility of the exceptional man, the circumstances 
leading up to this acquaintance were somewhat ro 
mantic. 

As I was under the impression that a large com 
pany of guests had been invited, I -decided to dress 
very ceremoniously, and was glad that my tailor had 
promised to deliver a new dress suit for this very 
evening. It was a horrid day with constant showers 
of rain and snow. One shuddered at the thought of 
leaving the house, and I was therefore very pleased 
when little Roscher paid me a visit in the afternoon 
to tell me something about the Eleatics and about 
God in philosophy for, as candidandu$ he is work 
ing up the material collected by Ahrens in his "De 
velopment of the Idea of God up to the Time of Aris- 



Through my offices." Translator. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 49 

totle" while Roinundt is trying for the prize essay 
of the University, the subject of which is "On the 
Will". It was getting dark, the tailor did not turn 
up, and Roscher left me. I accompanied him, 
called on the tailor myself, and found his minions 
busily engaged on my clothes, which they promised 
to send round in three-quarters of an hour. 

I went on my way in a jolly mood, looked in at 
Kintschy s, read the Kladderadatsch, and was amused 
to find a paragraph saying that Wagner was in Swit 
zerland and. that a fine house was being built for him 
in Munich, while I knew all the time that I was going 
to see him that evening and that the day before he had 
received a letter from the little monarch 1 addressed 
to "The Great German Tone-poet, Richard Wagner." 

But at home there was no tailor awaiting me, so I 
sat down and read the- treatise on the Eudokia at my 
ease, but was constantly disturbed by the sound of a 
shrill bell that seemed to be ringing some distance 
away. At last I felt certain that someone was stand 
ing at the old. iion gate; it was shut, as was also the 
door of the house. I shouted across the garden to the 
man to enter the house; but it was impossible to make 
oneself understood through the pouring rain. The 
whole house was disturbed, the door was ultimately 
opened, and a little old man bearing a parcel came 
up to me. It was half-past 6, time for me to dress 
and get ready, as I lived a long way off. It was all 
right, the man had my things. I tried them on and 
they fitted. But what was this suspicious develop- 

J Ludwig II of Bavaria. 



50 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

ment? He actually presented me with a bill. I took 
it politely, but he declared he must be paid on deliv 
ery. I was surprised, and explained that I had noth 
ing to do with him as the servant of my tailor, but 
that my dealings were with his master to whom I had 
given the order. The man grew more pressing, as 
did also the time. I snatched at the things and began 
to put them on. He snatched them too and did all he 
could to prevent me from- dressing. What with vio 
lence on my part and violence on his, there was soon 
a scene, and all the time I was fighting in my shirt, 
as I wished to get the new trousers. 

At last, after a display of dignit} r , solemn threats 3 
the utterance of curses on my tailor and his accom 
plice, and vows of vengeance, the little man vanished 
with my clothes. End of the First Act. I sat on my 
sofa and meditated while I examined a black coat and 
wondered whether it was good enough for Richard. 

Outside the rain continued to pour. 

It was a quarter past 7. I had promised to 
meet Windisch at half -past 7 at the Theatre Cafe. 
I plunged into the dark and rainy night, also a little 
man in black and without evening dress, yet in a bea 
tific mood, for chance was in my favour even the 
scene with the tailor s man had something tremen 
dously unusual about it. 

At last we entered Frau Brockhaus s exceedingly 
comfortable drawing-room. There was nobody there 
except the nost intimate members of the family, Rich 
ard and us two. I was introduced to Wagner and 
muttered a few respectful words to him. He ques 
tioned me closelv as to how I had become so well ac- 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 51 

quainted with his music, complained bitterly about 
the way his operas were produced with the exception 
of the famous Munich performances, and made great 
fun of the conductors who tried to encourage their 
orchestra in friendly tones as follows : "Now, gentle 
men, let s have some passion! My good people, still 
a little more passion if you please !" Wagner enjoys 
imitating the Leipzig dialect. 

Now let me give you a brief account of all that 
happened that evening. Really the joys were of such 
a rare and stimulating kind that even to-day I am 
not back in the old groove, but can think of nothing 
better to do than come to you, my dear friend, to tell 
you these wonderful tidings. Wagner played to us 
before and after supper, and went through every one 
of the more important passages of the Mcistersinger. 
He imitated all the voices and was in very high spir 
its. He is, by the bye, an extraordinarily energetic 
and fiery man. He speaks very quickly and wittily, 
and can keep a private company of the sort assembled 
on that evening very jolly. I managed to have quite 
a long talk with him about Schopenhauer. Oh, and 
you can imagine what a joy it was for me to hear him 
speak with such indescribable warmth of our master 
what a lot we owed to him, how he was the only 
philosopher who had understood the essence of music ! 
Then he inquired as to how the professors were dis 
posed toward him; laughed a good deal about the 
Philosophers Congress at Prague, and spoke of them 
as philosophical footmen. Later on he read me a 
piece out of the autobiography he is now writing, a 
thoroughly amusing scene from his Leipzig student 



52 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

days which I still cannot recall without a laugh. He 
writes extraordinarily cleverly and intellectually. At 
the close of the evening, when we were both ready to 
go, he shook my hand very warmly and kindly asked 
me to come and see him so that we might have some 
music and philosophy together. He also entrusted 
me with the task of making his music known to his 
sister and his relations, a duty which I undertook very 
solemnly to fulfil. You will hear more about it when 
I have succeeded in looking at this evening more ob 
jectively and from a greater distance. For the time 
being a hearty farewell and best wishes for your 
health from yours, F. N. 

To ROHDE. 
Leipzig on the Day of Penance, 

November 20, 1868. 
MY DEAR FRIEND: 

Now that I can once more contemplate the teeming 
brood of philologists of our day at close quarters ; now 
that I am obliged daily to observe the whole of their 
mole-hill activity, their swollen cheek pouches, their 
blind eyes, their rejoicing over the captured worm 
and their indifference towards the true nay, the ob 
vious problems of life, and remember that I notice 
these characteristics not only in the young brood, but 
also in their venerable elders, I grow ever more clear 
ly convinced that we two, if we wish to remain true 
to our genius, will not be able to pursue our life task 
without causing much offence, and being constantly 
thwarted and crossed in our purpose. When the 
philologist and the man are not of one piece, the whole 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 53 

tribe above mentioned gapes in astonishment at the 
miracle ; it grows angry and finally scratches, growls, 
and bites. You have just experienced an example of 
this. For of this I am quite certain, that the trick you 
have been played was not directed at your work in 
particular, but at your individuality. And I, too, live 
in hope of having very soon a foretaste of what awaits 
me in this infernal atmosphere. But, my good man, 
what have the judgments of other people concerning 
our personalities to do with our achievements? Let 
us remember Schopenhauer and Richard Wagner, and 
the inexhaustible energy with which they maintained 
their belief in themselves in the face of protests from 
the whole of the "cultured" world, and even if we are 
not allowed to refer them to deos maximos* we still 
have the consolation of knowing that however odd one 
is one cannot be denied the right to existence, and 
that two such odd creatures as ourselves who under 
stand each other so well and are so deeply united 
must be a delightful spectacle for the gods. 

Finally, nothing could be more regrettable than the 
fact that precisely at this moment, when we have just 
begun to put our views of life to a practical test, and 
explore all things and all circumstances in turn men, 
states, studies, world histories, churches, schools, 
etc. with our antennae, we should be separated by 
miles of territory, and each should be left alone with 
the semi-enjoyable and semi-painful feeling of having 
to digest his outlook on the world in solitude. As a 
matter of fact nothing would have been more exhila- 

" The biggest of Gods." Translator. 



54 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

rating than to sit down together now, as we used to do, 
to digest our bodily meals together at Kintschy s, and 
symbolically drink our afternoon coffee in company, 
and, from this midday of our lives, glance backwards 
into the past and forwards into the future. 

However, it will not be too late to do this even in 
Paris, where the great dvayvcoQimg 1 of our comedy 
takes place, and upon the most beautiful scene in the 
world, too, between the most brilliant wings and in 
numerable glittering supers. 

Oh, how lovely this image is! 

Therefore avaunt unadorned reality, shamefully 
vulgar empiricism, credit and debit, and "Grenzbo- 
ten" sobriety ! no, let the whole of this letter be pre 
sented to my friend, with all my soul, as a solemn 
and lofty greeting! 

( He drinks the contents of the ink bottle. ) Chorus 
of the Ascetics : 

Selig der Liebende, 
Der die betrubende, 
Heilsam und ubende 
Priifung bestanden." 

To FREIHERR KARL VON GERSDORFF. 

Naumburg, April 13, 1869. 
MY DEAR FRIEND: 

My hour has come and this is the last evening I 
shall spend at home for some time. Early to-morrow 
morning I go out into the wide, wide world, to enter 

1 Unravelment. 

- Blessed be the loving friend who has passed the trying 
but wholesome and toilsome exam." Goethe s Faust, I, Act 5. 
Translator. 



FEIEDBICH NIETZSCHE 55 

a new and untried profession, in an atmosphere heavy 
and oppressive with duty and work. Once more I 
must take leave of everything, the golden time of free 
and unconstrained activity, in which every instant is 
sovereign, in which the joys of art and the world are 
spread out before us as a mere spectacle in which we 
scarcely participate. This time is now for ever in the 
past for me. Now the inexorable goddess "Daily 
Duty" rules supreme. "Bemooster Bursche zieh? ich 
aus!" 1 [As a moss-grown student I go out into the 
world.] But you know that touching student song of 
course! "Muss selber nun Philister sein!" 2 [I too 
must be a Philistine now.] In one way or another 
this line always comes true. One cannot take up posts 
and honours with impunity the only question is, 
are the fetters of iron or of thread? For I have the 
pluck which will one day perhaps enable me to burst 
my bonds and venture into this precarious life from 
a different direction and in a different way. As yet 
I see no sign of the inevitable humpback of the pro 
fessor. May Zeus and all the Muses preserve me from 
ever becoming a Philistine, an av&Qcojrog apioixTog 8 , 
a man of the herd. But I do not know how I could 
become one, seeing that I am not one. It is true I 
stand a little nearer to another kind of Philistine 
the Philistine of the "specialist" species; for it is only 
natural that the daily task, and the unremitting con 
centration of the mind upon certain specified subjects 



*A song sung by German students on leaving the Univer 
sity. Translator. 

a Another line of the same song. Translator. 

A man who takes no interest in the Muses or Arts. 
Translator. 



56 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

and problems, should tend to abate the free receptiv 
ity of the mind and undermine the philosophic sense. 
But I flatter myself that I shall be able to meet this 
danger with more calm and assurance than the ma 
jority of philologists. Philosophical seriousness is 
already too deeply rooted in me; the true and essen 
tial problems of life and thought have been too clearly 
revealed to me by that great mystagogue, Schopen 
hauer, to allow of my ever being obliged to dread such 
a disgraceful defection from the "Idea". To infuse 
this new blood into my science, to communicate to my 
pupils that Schopenhauerian earnestness which is 
stamped on the brow of the sublime man such is my 
desire, such is my undaunted hope. I should like to 
be something more than a mere trainer of efficient 
philologists. The present generation of teachers, the 
care of the coining generation all this is in my mind. 
If we must live our lives out to the bitter end let us 
at least do so in such wise that others may bless our 
life as a priceless treasure, once we have been happily 
released from its tolls. 

As for you, old man, with whom I agree on such a 
number of vital and fundamental questions, I wish 
you the luck you deserve and myself your old and 
tried friendship. Fare thee well ! 

FBIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, DR. 

To ROHDE. 

Badenweiler, August 17, 1869. 
MY DEAR FRIEND: 

This is the last day of the holidays. Feelings long 
since dead and buried seem to wake again. I feel just 



FEIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 57 

like a fourth-form boy who waxes sentimental and 
writes poems about the ephemeral character of earth 
ly happiness when he hears the clock strike on the last 
day of the holidays. Oh, dear friend, what a small 
amount of joy is mine and what a lot of my own 
smoke I have to consume ! Aye, I wouldn t fear even 
an attack of that dreadful dysentery if by means of it 
I could purchase a talk with you every evening. How 
unsatisfactory letters are! Incidentally I discovered 
the following beautiful passage in old Goethe yester 
day: 

"How precious is the dear and certain speech 
Of the present friend! The Solitary, 
Robbed of its power benign, sinks into gloom; 
Too slowly ripens, then locked in his breast, 
Thought and each firm resolve ; but in the presence 
Of the beloved friend they leap to life!" 1 

You see, that s the whole thing: we are in eternal 
need of midwives, and with the view of being confined 
most men go into the public house or to a "colleague," 
and then the little thoughts and little plans romp out 
like kittens. When, however, we are pregnant and 
there is no one at hand to assist us in our difficult 
delivery, then darkly and gloomily we lay our rude, 
unformed, newborn thought in the murky recess of 
some cave; the sunny rays of friendship are denied 
it. 

But with my incessant talk about solitude, I shall 
soon develop into a regular Joseph, the carpenter, and 
then no kind Mary will wish to join her lot with mine. 
"The calf and the baby ass, men say, do praise the 

Goethe: Iphigenia, Act. IV .Translated by Hermann 
Scheffauer. 



58 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

Lord most perfectly." There s the whole thing! A 
little cattle makes the whole world kin, the edifice 
is crowned. Remember it was the shepherds and the 
sheep who saw the stars; to people like us everything 
is dark. . . . 

Now let nie tell you something about my Jupiter, 
Richard Wagner, to whom I go from time to time for 
a breath of air, and receive more refreshment by so do 
ing than any of my colleagues could possibly imagine. 
The fellow has not received a single honour yet, and 
has only just had the distinction of being elected hon 
orary member of the Berlin Academy of Arts. A 
fruitful, rich and convulsive life, distinctly unheard 
of and deviating from the average standard of morals. 
But that is precisely why he stands there, firmly 
rooted in his own power, with his eyes always scan 
ning a distance beyond everything ephemeral, and be 
yond his age in the finest sense. Not long ago ha 
handed me the MS. of "State and Religion," intended 
as a memoire for the young King of Bavaria. It is 
conceived on such a high plane, is so independent of 
time, and so full of nobility and Schopenhauerian 
earnestness that it made me feel I should like to be 
a king in order to receive such exhortations. By-the- 
bye, a little while ago I sent him one or two passages 
out of your letters for Frau von Billow, who had often 
asked me for them. On my last visit but one a baby 
boy w r as born during the night and was called "Sieg 
fried." The last time I was there Wagner had just 
completed the composition of his Siegfried, and was 
full of the exuberance of his power. Aren t you going 
to write to him? Perhaps you think he has more 



FEIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 59 

than enough lay admirers. But do not write as a 
musician ; write as a man who is in sympathy with his 
thoughts and is as earnest as he is. He very rarely 
gets a sign of this sort, and every time he does happen 
to he is as delighted as if he had had a windfall. . . . 
Farewell, my dear, true friend. 

FRIED. NIETZSCHE. 



NIETZSCHE To His MOTHER. 

Bale, Monday Evening, August 30, 1869. 
DEAR MOTHER: 

I have just returned from an exceedingly enjoyable 
and harmonically happy visit of two days to my friend 
Wagner and am reminded that I owe you an answer 
as well as thanks for two letters. Above all I am de 
lighted to hear that you are sure to come in the au 
tumn, but you have formed an exaggerated opinion of 
the all too modest space at my disposal in my new 
quarters if you think I shall be able to put you both 
up. I shall however do my best to make arrange 
ments for you to live quite close to me, perhaps even 
in the same house. This would be quite possible if 
my colleague Schonberg moves, as he intends to do, 
at the right time. Then his rooms would be free. 
We are now very busy again and regularly so. As 
soon as the term is over and I am quite free, I think 
we shall make our way together to the charming Lake 
of Geneva and eat as many grapes as we like, but not 
medicinallv like the Grand-duchess. 1 



The Grand-duchess Constantine had been a pupil of our 

father s. E.F.N, 



60 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

As you seem to be interested in her meeting with 
me, I must add that it made quite a favourable im 
pression upon me. She seems to have received a 
sound and liberal education ; she shows marked signs 
of having a good intellect and an earnest grasp 
of life, which is certainly not rare in royal person 
ages and is quite comprehensible in view of the bur 
dens of their position. She has moreover a friendly, 
accessible and engaging manner, and does not suffer 
from a desire to be constantly standing on ceremony. 
I received her as you suggested. I met her at the 
railway station with a bouquet, escorted her on foot 
across the Rhine bridge and then as far as her hotel 
in a carriage. I then had dinner with her and her 
suite she has engaged 21 rooms. So I was in her 
company in all about two or three hours and for a 
good part of that time alone with her. During that 
time she told me a good deal about old days and 
recent ones as well; for instance, a lot about you, 
how Lizzie had grown so thin at Leipzig, and whether 
she drank cow s milk now, etc., etc. The ladies in 
waiting were also quite attentive to me and proved 
kind and cheerful creatures. One is at a great advan 
tage when one s attitude towards royal personages 
is quite independent and one has no requests or ap 
peals to lay before them. Why did Lizzie tremble 
so on the occasion of her first visit and behave in such 
a nervous way? I would not say that I had been em 
barrassed by the whole affair, but I regretted the time 
lost. 

The Grand-duchess revealed a strong taste for mu 
sic and thought over the proximity of Tribschen and 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 61 

Richard Wagner a good deal. She asked me to con 
vey to him her deep regard for his work. 

Never have I been happier than during the last few 
days. The warm, hearty and increasing intimacy with 
Wagner and Fran von Billow, the complete agreement 
between us on all the questions that chiefly interest 
us, Wagner absolutely in the prime of his genius 
and marvellous creations only just come into being, 
glorious Tribschen arranged on such a regal and in 
genious scale many things conspire to exhilarate me 
and strengthen me in my calling. 

Good-bye! F. N. 

To ROHDE. 

Bale, End of January to February 15, 1870. 
MY DEAR FRIEND: 

I suddenly began to feel anxious the other day. I 
am wondering how you are getting on in Rome, and 
thinking how remote from the world and isolated your 
life there must be. You may even be ill and are 
receiving no proper care and no friendly support. 
Set my fears at rest and dispel my pessimistic fan 
cies. I always imagine Rome of the Christian Coun 
cils as a terribly poisonous place no, I shall not write 
any more; for I have a feeling that the secrecy of a 
letter is not sufficiently secure for the discussion of 
ecclesiastical and Jesuitical matters. They might 
scent what the contents of the letter were, and pay 
you out for it. You are studying antiquity and lead 
ing the life of the Middle Ages. 

Now let me impress this upon you most emphati 
cally don t forget on your return journey to come 



63 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

and spend some time with me. Perhaps, you know, 
it might be the last time for many years. I miss you 
terribly, so give me the comfort of your presence 
and try to make your stay not too short a one. For 
it is indeed a new experience for me to have no one 
on the spot to whom I can tell all the best and the 
worst that life brings me not even a really sym 
pathetic colleague. In such anchoritic conditions 
and with such difficult years in a young life, my 
friendship is actually becoming something pathologi 
cal. I beg you, as an invalid begs : "Come to Bale !" 

My real refuge, which cannot be valued too highly, 
is still Triebschen, near Lucerne. The only thing is 
I can but seldom have recourse to it. I spent my 
Christmas holidays there, most beautiful and uplift 
ing memory ! It is absolutely necessary that you too 
should be initiated into this magic. When once you 
are my guest we shall go and visit our friend Wagner 
together. Can t you tell me anything about Franz 
Liszt? If you could possibly manage to come home 
via Lake Como you would have a fine opportunity of 
giving us all great pleasure. We, i.e., we Triebschen 
folk, have our eye on a villa on the lake near Fiume 
Latte. It is called "Valla Capuana," and consists 
of two houses. Could you manage to inspect this 
villa and give us the benefit of your opinion? . 

I have delivered a lecture on "The Ancient Musical 
Drama" before a mixed audience, and on Feb. 1st I 
shall deliver a second on "Socrates and Tragedy." 
Every day I get to like the Hellenic world more and 
more. There is no better way of approaching close to 
it than that of indefatigably cultivating one s own 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 63 

little self. The degree of culture I have attained con 
sists in a most mortifying admission of my own ignor 
ance. The life of a philologist striving in every direc 
tion of criticism and yet a thousand miles away from 
Greek antiquity becomes every day more impossible 
to me. I even doubt whether I shall ever succeed in 
becoming a proper philologist. If I cannot succeed 
incidentally, as it were, I shall never succeed. The 
trouble of it is that I have no example and am in the 
dangerous position of the fool who acts on his own 
responsibility. My plan for the immediate future is 
four years of work in cultivating myself and then a 
year of travel, in your company perhaps. Our life 
is really a very difficult one. Sweet ignorance led by 
teachers and traditions was so blissfully secure. 

Moreover you will be well-advised not to choose 
a small University in which to settle down. One is 
isolated even in one s science. What would I not give 
for you and me to be able to live together! I am al 
most forgetting how to speak. But the most irksome 
feature of my life is that I must always be impersonat 
ing or representing somebody, either the teacher, the 
philologist, or the man, and that I have always to be 
gin by proving my mettle to all whom I frequent. I 
am, however, a very bad hand at this, and get steadily 
worse as time goes on. I either remain dumb or in 
tentionally only say as much as- a polite man of the 
world is expected to say. In short, I am more dis 
satisfied with myself than with the world, and feel 
therefore all the more attached to the dearest of 
friends. 

Farewell ! Farewell ! 



04 SELECTED LETTERS OF 
NIETZSCHE To His MOTHER. 

Sulz, near Weissenburg, in the Neighbour 
hood of Worth, August 28, 1870. 

TO BEGIN WITH, HEARTY GREETINGS : 

We have already been two days on the journey from 
Erlangen: it takes longer than one thinks, although 
we lay claim to every means of conveyance to hand, 
and entered France, for instance, sitting on the breaks 
of an enormous supply train. Yesterday, on a march 
lasting eleven hours, we performed our errands at 
Gorsdorf and Langensulzbach, and on the battlefield 
of Worth. Under separate cover I am sending you a 
souvenir of the terribly devastated battlefield, strewn 
with countless sad remains and smelling strongly of 
corpses. To-day we want to go to Hagenau, to-mor 
row to Nancy, and so on, in the direction of the South 
ern Army. Mosengel and I are travelling alone and 
shall only rejoin Ziemssen, our Erlangen colleague, at 
Pont-k-Mousson. 

No letters from you can possibly reach me for the 
next few weeks, as we are constantly changing our 
position, and the letter post is exceedingly slow. Noth 
ing" can be gleaned here of the progress of our army, 
all papers having completely ceased. The enemy pop 
ulation here seems to be growing used to the new state 
of affairs. But of course it should be remembered 
that they are threatened with death for the smallest 
offence. 

In all the villages through which we have passed 
one sees hospital after hospital. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 65 

I shall soon send you further news. Don t be in 
the least anxious on my account. 

YOUE FRITZ. 



NIETZSCHE To His MOTHER. 

Erlangen, September 11, 1870. 
Hotel Walfisch. 

DEAREST MOTHER : 

Just think until now I have had no news of you, 
but my campaign has already come to an end without 
mishap. Not quite without mishap, perhaps, for I 
am lying here suffering from severe dysentery : but the 
worst symptoms are over 1 and on Tuesday or Wed 
nesday I shall be able to travel to Naumburg to be 
nursed back to health again. And now as regards 
this, I should like you and Lizzie, if you possibly can, 
to return to Naumburg. What with my longing for 
peace and quiet and the exhausted state I am in, there 
is no other place to which I should like to go. I went 
as far as the outskirts of Metz and conducted a trans 
port of wounded from there to Carlsruhe. And as the 
result of this, the terrible state of all the wounded 
in my hands, the constant bandaging of their septic 
wounds, and sleeping in a cattle truck in which six 
severely wounded men lay on straw, I contracted the 
germ of dysentery. The doctor discovered that I was 
suffering from diphtheria as well, which is also the 



J He was so ill that the parson had come to prepare him 
for the end; he did not wish to tell us this, however. He always 
maintained that he had had cholera. E.F.N. 



66 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

outcome of this journey. This is another of the evils 
we are combating with the utmost vigour. 

In spite of it all I am glad at least to have been 
able to help a little in the midst of all the incredible 
misery. And I should have returned to my duties 
immediately if illness had not made this impossible. 

With heartiest greetings and wishes, 

YOUR SON. 
F. N. 

TO RlTSCHL. 

Naumburg, September 21, 1870. 
DEAR SIR: 

Who can tell whether you have received my last 
letters ! This is the secret qualm which at such times 
as these seizes every letter writer. That is why I 
will tell you once again that in the service of the vol 
untary ambulance corps I went from Erlangen to the 
seat of war as far as Ars-sur-Moselle (quite close to 
Metz), and that I brought a transport of wounded 
from there to Carlsruhe. The strain of the whole 
undertaking was considerable and I am still strug 
gling against the recollection of all I saw during 
those weeks, as well as against an incessant wail of 
which I cannot rid my mind s ear. On my return I 
was laid up with two dangerous diseases caught from 
the seriously wounded men I had nursed unremitting 
ly for all those days and nights diphtheria and dys 
entery alas! noMle par fratrum! 1 



What a noble pair of brothers." Translator. 



FRIEDKICH NIETZSCHE 67 

However, I have got over the worst of both these 
maladies. A few days ago I arrived here in Naum- 
burg with the view of recuperating thoroughly and of 
recovering by means of peaceful work from the stress 
and fatigue I had undergone. It is a funny thing that 
in spite of one s best intentions for the general weal 
one s own paltry personality with all its wretchedness 
and weakness comes and trips one up. Once more, 
alas! 

I hope shortly to be able to give you an account 
of my experiences in person, and I am also bringing 
you one or two chassepot bullets picked up on the 
battlefields. All my martial passions have been kin 
dled once more and I have been unable to gratify 
them. Had I joined my battery I might have been 
an active or passive witness of the events at Rezon- 
ville, Sedan and Laon. But the neutrality of Swit 
zerland tied my hands. 

. . . But when have we been able to walk more 
proudly than at present? Surely when German meets 
German now they can laugh as well as cry together 
like two augurs ! 

And this we shall do together next week. Au re- 
voir! 

Your devoted, 

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 

To FREIHERR KARL VON GERSDORFF. 

Naumburg, October 20, 1870. 
MY DEAR FRIEND : 

This morning I had a most pleasant surprise and 
release from much anxiety and uneasiness your let- 



68 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

ter. Only the day before yesterday I received the 
most terrible shock on hearing your name pronounced 
in faltering accents at Pforta. You know what these 
faltering accents mean just now. I immediately 
begged the Rector to give me the list of old Pforta boys 
who had fallen in the war, and this document reached 
me yesterday evening. In one important respect it 
reassured me. Otherwise it was a sad record. In ad 
dition to the names you have already mentioned, I find 
at the head of the list Stockert, then Von Oertzen 
(though his name has a question mark against it), 
then Von Riedesel, etc., sixteen in all. I was deeply 
moved by all you told me, above all by the sincerity 
and gravity with which you speak of the trial by fire 
to which the philosophy we hold in common has been 
subjected. I, too, have had a similar experience, and 
in my case, as well, these months have been a period 
during which I have been able to prove how deep 
and firm are the roots our fundamental doctrine has 
struck in me. One can die with it this is much more 
than saying that one can live with it. For I have 
not been so securely removed from the dangers of 
the war as you might imagine. As soon as it was de 
clared I applied to my Governing Board for leave to 
discharge my duty as a German soldier. They granted 
me leave but stipulated that in view of Switzerland s 
neutrality I was on no account to bear arms. ( Since 
1869 I have ceased to be a Prussian citizen.) With 
out delay, therefore, I set out with an excellent friend 
with the object of offering myself as a volunteer am 
bulance attendant. This friend, who shared all my 
experiences for seven weeks, is the painter Mosengel 



PRIEDBICH NIETZSCHE 69 

of Hamburg, a man whom I must introduce to you as 
soon as peace is restored. Without his hearty assist 
ance I should probably not have survived the events 
of this period. At Erlangen I attended the Univer 
sity lectures in order to be trained in medicine and 
surgery; we had 200 wounded there. In a very few 
days I was given charge of two Prussians and two 
Turcos. Two of these very soon contracted hospital 
gangrene, and I had to do a lot of painting. At the 
end of a fortnight Mosengel and I were sent out by 
a Red Cross Society there. We were intrusted with 
a host of personal messages and also with large sums 
of money to be handed to about eighty field chaplains 
already dispatched to the seat of war. Our plan was 
to join my colleague Ziemssen at Pont-&-Mousson, 
and to throw in our lot with his band of fifteen young 
men. As a matter of fact, however, this plan was not 
realized. We met with great difficulties in discharg 
ing our various commissions, for, as we had no ad 
dresses, we were obliged, at considerable pains and 
with only the most inadequate directions to guide us, 
to go from battlefield to battlefield and scour the hos 
pitals of Weissenburg and the field hospitals of 
Worth, Hagenau, Luneville, and Nancy, all the way 
to Metz. At Ars-sur-Moselle a number of wounded 
soldiers were placed in our care, and as they had to be 
conveyed to Carlsruhe, we returned with them. I had 
charge of six very seriously wounded men single- 
handed for three days and three nights ; Mosengel had 
five. The weather was atrocious and the goods trucks 
we were in had to be almost closed up to prevent the 
poor invalids from getting soaked through. The air 



70 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

in these trucks was simply unspeakable and to make 
matters worse two of my patients had dysentery and 
two others diphtheria. In short I had an incredible 
amount to do and spent three hours in the morning 
and three at night dressing wounds alone. In addition 
to that, I could get no rest at night owing to my 
patients continual need of me. After I had delivered 
up my charges to a stationary hospital I fell very ill 
myself and quickly developed a severe attack of dysen 
tery and diphtheria. I reached Erlangen with great 
difficulty and there I laid up. Mosengel was self-sac 
rificing enough to nurse me there a no small under 
taking considering the nature of my malady. After 
I had been dosed with opium and injections of tannin 
and silver nitrate for several days, the worst danger 
was over. In a week I was able to travel to Naum- 
burg, but I am not right yet. Besides, the atmosphere 
of my experiences had spread like a gloomy mist all 
about me, and for some time I never ceased to hear 
the plaintive cries of the wounded. It was therefore 
quite impossible to pursue my plan of returning to the 
seat of war, and now I must be content with watching 
and pitying from a distance. 

Oh, my dear friend, what good wishes can I send 
you ! We both know what we have to expect from life. 
But we must not live for ourselves alone. So live on ! 
live on! dearest friend, and fare you well! I know 
your heroic nature. Oh, if only you could be spared 
to me! 

Your devoted friend, 
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE (now in Bale for good). 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 71 

To FREIHERR KARL VON GERSDORFF. 

Bale, November 7, 1870. 
MY DEAR FRIEND : 

Yesterday I had a treat which I should have liked 
you of all people to share. Jacob Burckhardt 1 gave a 
free lecture on "Historical Greatness," which was 
quite in keeping with our thought and feeling. This ex 
ceedingly original old man, although not given to dis 
tortion, is yet inclined to hush up the truth. But on 
our confidential walks he calls Schopenhauer "our 
philosopher." Every week I attend one of his lectures 
on the Study of History, and I believe I am the only 
one of his sixty listeners who grasps the profundity 
of his line of thought with its curious breaks and 
twists at any point where the subject threatens to be 
come dangerous. For the first time in my life I have 
enjoyed a lecture, but then it was the sort of one I 
myself might give when I am older. 

This summer I wrote an essay on the "Dionysian 
Weltanschauung" dealing with an aspect of Greek an 
tiquity of which, thanks to our philosopher, we are 
now able to get a much closer view. But these are 
studies which, for the time being only, concern me. 
I have no greater wish than to be allowed sufficient 
time to mature properly and then out of my plenitude 
produce something. 

As regards the conditions of culture in the imme 
diate future, I feel the deepest misgivings. If only we 

lr rhe famous Bale Professor, author of The Renaissance in 
Italy, etc. 



72 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

are not forced to pay too dearly for this huge national 
success in a quarter where I at least refuse to suffer 
any loss. Between ourselves, I regard the Prussia of 
to-day as a power full of the greatest dangers for 
culture. One day I shall myself publicly expose our 
scholastic organization ; as to the religious, intrigues 
which are once more spreading from Berlin to the 
advantage of the Catholic Church I leave that to 
others! At times it is very hard, but we must be 
philosophical enough to keep our presence of mind in 
the midst of all this intoxication, so that no thief may 
come to rob or steal from us what the greatest mili 
tary feats or the highest national exaltation would 
in my opinion never replace. 

Much fighting will be necessary for the coming pe 
riod of culture, and for this work we must keep our 
selves in readiness. Dear friend, I always think of 
you with the deepest apprehension. May the genius 
of the future guide and guard you in the way we de 
sire. 

Your devoted friend, 

FR. NIETZSCHE. 

To His MOTHER AND SISTER. 

Bale, December 12, 1870. 
DEAR MAMMA AND LIZZIE : 

. . . I am gradually losing all sympathy for 
Germany s present war of conquest. The future of 
German culture seems to me now more in danger than 
it ever was. . . . 

With heartiest greetings, 
YOUR FRITZ. 



FBI ED RICH NIETZSCHE 73 

TO ROHDE. 

Bale, December 15, 1870. 
MY DEAR FRIEND: 

I have not allowed a minute to elapse since reading 
your letter but am replying at once. I simply wanted 
to tell you that I felt just as you do and would regard 
it as a disgrace if we could not get out of this state 
of longing thirst by means of some energetic deed. 
Now listen to what I have been turning over in my 
soul ! Let us drag on for another year or two in this 
University life! Let us accept it as an instructive 
burden of sorrow which we are obliged to bear earn 
estly and with surprise. Among other things it will 
be a period of probation for the art of teaching, by 
means of which I regard it as my mission to perfect 
myself. The only thing is I have set my goal a little 
higher. 

In the long run I have become aware of the impor 
tance of Schopenhauer s teaching about the wisdom 
of the Universities. A thoroughly radically truthful 
existence is impossible here. But what is specially 
important is that nothing truly subversive can ever 
emerge from this quarter. 

And then we can only become genuine teachers by 
straining every nerve to raise ourselves out of the 
atmosphere of these times and by being not only wiser 
but above all better men. Here also I feel that the 
very first prerequisite is to be true. And that is why, 
I repeat, I cannot endure this academic atmosphere 
too long. 

So it comes to this, we shall sooner or later cast 
off this yoke upon this I am firmly resolved. And 



74 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

then we shall form a new Greek Academy Eomundt 
will certainly join us in that. Thanks to your visits 
to Triebschen you must also know Wagner s Bay- 
reuth plan. I have been considering quite privately 
whether we on our part should not simultaneously 
effect a breach with philology as it has been practised 
hitherto and its aspect of culture. I am preparing 
an important adhortatio 1 to all those natures that 
have not been completely stifled and entangled in the 
present age. What a deplorable thing it is that I 
should have to write to you about these matters and 
that each individual thought should not have been 
discussed with you long ago ! For, since you do not 
know the whole apparatus as it already exists, my 
plan will seem to you like an eccentric whim. But 
this it is not it is a need. 

A book of Wagner s about Beethoven that has just 
been published you will find full of suggestions about 
what I desire for the future. Read it ; it is a revela 
tion of the spirit in which ice ice! shall live in the 
future. 

Even supposing we get but few adherents, I believe, 
nevertheless, that we shall be able to extricate our 
selves pretty well not without some injuries, it is 
true from this current, and that we shall reach some 
islet upon which we shall no longer require to stop 
up our ears with wax. We shall then be our own mu 
tual teachers and our books will only be so much bait 
wherewith to lure others to our monastic and artistic 
association. Our lives, our work, and our enjoyment 

Admonition. Translator. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 75 

will then be for one another; possibly this is the only 
way in which we can work for the world as a whole. 

In order to prove to you how deeply in earnest I am 
in this matter, I have already begun to limit my re 
quirements in order to be able to preserve a small 
vestige of private means. We shall also try our luck 
in lotteries; and, if we write books, I shall for the 
immediate future demand the highest possible fees. 
In short, we shall make use of every legitimate means 
in order to establish our monastery upon a secure 
material basis thus, even for the next few years, we 
have our appointed tasks. 

If only this plan would strike you as being at least 
worthy of consideration! That it was high time to 
lay it before you is proved by the really stirring letter 
I have just received from you. 

Ought we not to be able to introduce a new form 
of the Academy life into the world 

"And would my powerful longings, all in vain 
Charm into life that deathless form again " l 

as Faust says of Helen? 

Nobody knows anything about this project, and 
whether we shall now send a preliminary communica 
tion about it to Romundt will depend upon you. 

Our school of philosophy is surely not an historical 
reminiscence or a deliberate whim does not dire 
necessity impel us in this direction? 

Apparently the plan we made as students to travel 
together has returned in a new and symbolically 



Goethe s Faust, Part II, Act III. Dr. John Anster s trans 
lation. (1864). Translator. 



TG SELECTED LETTERS OF 

grander form. I will not again be the culprit who, 
as on that occasion, left you in the lurch. I have not 
yet ceased to be vexed about that. 
With the best of hopes, 

Your devoted 
FRATER FRIDERICUS. 



To ROHDE. 

Bale, January 28, 1872. 
MY VERY DEAR FRIEND : 

The other day I was approached, through Susemihl, 
and asked whether I would accept a professorship at 
Greifswald. But I refused it immediately in your 
favour and recommended you for the post. Has the 
matter developed any further? I referred it to Rib- 
beck. Of course, the thing got to be known here and 
was the means of my earning much sympathy from 
the good folk of Bale. Although I protested that it 
was not actually the offer of an appointment, but 
only a provisional inquiry, all the students decided 
to have a torchlight procession in my honour, declar 
ing that they wished to express how much they valued 
and esteemed my past work in Bale. But I declined 
to accept this demonstration. I am now holding a 
course of lectures here on "The Future of our Edu 
cational Institutions," 1 and am making quite a sensa 
tion and even at times provoking genuine enthusiasm. 
Why do we not live together, for all that now surges 



Translated and published in Vol. Ill of Dr. Oscar Levy s 
Complete and Authorized English Translation of Nietzsche s 
Works (T. N. Foulis.) Translator. 



FKIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 77 

in my breast and that I am preparing for the future 
cannot even be touched upon in letters? I have con 
cluded an alliance with Wagner. You cannot think 
how near we stand to each other now and how closely 
related our schemes are. What I have had to hear 
about my book is incredible, but that is the reason 
why I do not write anything about it. What is your 
opinion on the subject? Everything I hear about it 
makes me uncommonly serious, for it is out of voices 
such as these that I divine the future of my schemes. 
This life is going to be very hard still. 

In Leipzig irritation seems to prevail again. Nobody 
there writes me a line about it, not even Ritschl. 

My dear friend, some time or other we absolutely 
must live together ; it is a sacred necessity. For some 
while I have been living in a tremendous current; 
nearly every day something astounding happens, 
while my aspirations and intentions continue to rise. 
Let me tell you as a great secret, and begging you to 
keep it to yourself, that among other things- I am 
preparing a Promemoria about the University of 
Strasburg in the form of an interpellation for the 
Reichstag, to be delivered to. Bismarck. In it I wish 
to show how. shamefully a great opportunity was lost 
of making a truly German Educational Institute for 
the regeneration of the German spirit and for the 
total extermination of what has hitherto been called 
"culture." War to the knife ! or, rather, to the cannon ! 

Your friend, 

THE MOUNTED ARTILLERYMAN WITH 
THE HEAVIEST GUNS. 



78 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

TO ROHDB. 

Bale, June 18, 1872. 
MY DEAR FRIEND : 

As the result of stomach and intestinal trouble I 
have been in bed for a few days and am still feeling 
rather seedy to-day. So do not expect anything ex 
ceptionally rational if I now answer your letter after 
having all sorts of conflicting thoughts and ideas 
about it. Ah, my dear friend, in such cases the 
wisest course cannot be discovered by cunning; it is 
only afterward that one realizes whether one has 
seized upon the right thing or not. For the case is 
exceptional, and I do not know by what analogy to 
decide it. For my part I lay very great stress upon 
the fact that the philologists will receive a wholesome 
surprise when you suddenly stand up for me as a 
philologist. What Wagner in his love for me ha? 
written I do not know. In view of the coarse rude 
ness of our fellow philologist, it will in any case have 
a different effect from what he expects. It is on occa 
sions like these that the invisible conspiracy against 
the spirit becomes visible. But what they will least 
expect, the most terrible feature of it all, will be that 
a qualified philologist should come to my support. 
The confidence that this could never happen explains 
the superlatively impudent tone of this Berlin youth. 1 
I am moreover perfectly satisfied in my own mind 
that, to do him justice, he is only the echo of the 
"superiors" who inspire him. As a wholesome warn 
ing and to avoid having to deal with these disgusting 

l Willamowitz. 



FKIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 79 

Berlin Gesundbrunn people, 1 every time we produce 
something new you would, according to Wagner s 
letter, do something eminently salutary if you de 
scribed to philologists what in all its earnestness and 
rigour our position toward antiquity actually is, and 
above all if you could lay stress upon the fact that 
it is not open to every potty little philologist who 
ever he may be to have his say in these matters, much 
less, therefore, to criticise them. Dear friend, I 
imagine your essay starting off with general observa 
tions about our philological work; the more general 
and more earnest these observations are, the easier 
will it be to address the whole to Wagner. In your 
opening you might perhaps explain why you turn pre 
cisely to Wagner and why you do not address yourself 
to some philological body, for instance. You might 
point out that at present we entirely lack any supreme 
forum for the most ideal results of our studies of 
antiquity. Then you might make some mention of 
our experiences and hopes in Bayreuth and thus jus 
tify us in connecting our aspirations in regard to 
antiquity with this cry of "Awake ! for the day is at 
hand!" 2 And then you might proceed to deal with 
my book, etc. Ah, my dear friend, it is ridiculous for 
me, in this seedy mood, to go and write all this to 
you. But the principal thing seems to be that we 
should not forego our intention of addressing Wag 
ner, because it is precisely this direct relationship to 
Wagner that most terrifies the philologists and com- 



Gesundbrunnen, a suburb of Berlin. Translator. 
Hans Sachs words in Wagner s "Meistersinger." 



80 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

pels them most forcibly to reflect. At the same time 
the slaughter of Willamowitz must be done on purely 
philological lines. Perhaps after a somewhat lengthy 
introduction dealing with generalities and addressed 
to Wagner, you might draw a line, and then with 
some apologies turn to the execution. In any case, 
toward the end of the essay your tone must once more 
become so general and earnest that the reader will 
forget Willamowitz and remember only that we are 
not to be trifled with which will mean a good deal 
where philologists are concerned. For up to the 
present day they have always regarded me as a sort 
of philological joker, or, as I heard a little while ago, 
a writer on music. 

As the essay will in any case be read by many who 
are not philologists, remember, dear friend, not to be 
too "noble" in the matter of your quotations, so that 
the non-philological friends of antiquity may find out 
where they have something to learn. Unfortunately 
the tone of my own essay did not allow of any in 
struction of this sort. If possible, try to wipe out 
the impression that it deals with creatures in the 
moon and not with the Greeks. Will your pamphlet 
cover as many as thirty or forty pages? And are you 
agreeable to its being published by Fritzsch, or should 
Triibner have it? Ritschl would be sure to manage 
that for me. (Ritschl is extraordinarily kind and 
well disposed to me. ) Forgive this foolish letter, dear 
friend, and do exactly as you feel inclined in the mat 
ter. But rest assured that if you do it I shall thor 
oughly appreciate it. In my present isolated position 
I may be ignored as a visionary or an ass. But if we 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 81 

stand together, both united by our love for Wagner, 
we shall arouse a frantic, an egregious amount of 
attention among the army of philological duffers and 
rogues. 

Your affectionate and devoted friend, 

F. N. 

NIETZSCHE To His MOTHER. 

Spliigen, Hotel Bodenhaus. 

Beginning of October, 1872. 
MY DARLING MOTHER: 

This time you are going to laugh, for this long letter 
is all about a journey and lots of funny things. Half 
against my will I decided to go to Italy; though it lay 
heavily on my conscience that I had already written 
you a letter accepting. But who can resist the capri 
cious manner in which the weather has suddenly be 
come the reverse of what it was! Now it is beauti 
fully and purely autumnal, just the very weather for 
a walking tour. Or, to be nearer the truth, I felt the 
most burning desire for once to be quite alone with 
my thoughts for a little while. You can guess from 
the address of the hotel printed above that I have 
been unexpectedly successful. 

I had almost reached Zurich when I dis 
covered that my companion in the compartment was 
a man who was well known to me and had been even 
better recommended the musician Goetz (a pupil of 
Billow s) and he told me how much his musical work 
had increased in Zurich since Kirclmer s departure. 
But what seemed to agitate him most of all was the 
prospect of seeing his opera accepted by the Hanover 



82 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

Theatre and produced for the first time. After leav 
ing Zurich, in spite of the nice unobtrusive company, 
I gradually grew so cold and ill that I had not the 
courage to go as far as Chur. With great difficulty 
that is to say, with a splitting headache I reached 
Weesen and the Lake of Wallenstatt in the dead of 
night. I found the Schwert Hotel bus and got into 
it, and it set me down at a fine, comfortable, though 
completely empty, hotel. On the following morning 

1 rose with a headache. My window looked on to the 
Lake of Wallenstatt, which you can imagine as being 
like the Lake of Lucerne, but much simpler and not 
so sublime. Then I went on to Chur, feeling unfor 
tunately ever more and more ill at ease so much so 
that I went through Ragaz, etc., almost without feel 
ing the slightest interest. I was very glad to be able 
to leave the train at Chur, refused the post official s 
offer to drive with him which after all was the plan 
and, putting up at the Hotel Lukmanier, I went 
straight to bed. It was 10 a. m. I slept well until 

2 p. m., felt better and ate a little. A smart and well- 
informed waiter recommended me to walk as far as 
Pessug, a place that was imprinted on my memory by 
a picture I had seen of it in an illustrated paper. 
Sabbath peace and an afternoon mood prevailed in 
the town of Chur. I walked up the main road at a 
leisurely pace ; as on the previous day, everything lay 
before me transfigured by the glow of autumn. The 
scenery behind me was magnificent, while the view 
constantly changed and widened. After about half an 
hour s walk I came to a little side path which was 
beautifully shaded; until then the road had been 



FKIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 83 

rather hot. Then I reached the gorge through which 
the Rabiusa pours; its beauty defies description. I 
pressed on over bridges and paths winding round the 
side of the rock for about half an hour, and at last 
discovered Bad Passug indicated by a flag. At first 
it disappointed me, for I had expected a Pension and 
saw only a second-rate inn, full of Sunday excur 
sionists from Chur a crowd of comfortably feasting 
and coffee-sipping families. The first thing I did was 
to drink three glassfuls of the saline-soda spring; 
then the improved state of my head soon allowed me 
to add a bottle of white Asti Spumante you remem 
ber it ! together with the softest of goat s milk cheese. 
A man with Chinese eyes, who sat at my table, also 
had some of the Asti to drink ; he thanked me, drank 
and was much gratified. Then the proprietess handed 
me a number of analyses of the water, etc. Finally, 
Sprecher, the proprietor of the watering place, an 
excitable sort of man, showed me all over his property, 
the incredibly fantastic position of which I was 
obliged to acknowledge. Again I drank copious 
draughts of water from three entirely different 
springs. The proprietor promised the opening of im 
portant new springs, and noticing my interest in the 
matter offered to make me his partner in the founding 
of a hotel, etc., etc. irony ! The valley is extremely 
fascinating for a geologist of unfathomable versatility 
aye, and even whimsicality. There are seams of 
graphite and there is also quartz with ochre. The 
proprietor even hinted at gold. You can see the most 
different kinds of stone strata and varieties of stone, 
bending hither and thither and cracked as in the Axen- 



84 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

stein on the Lake of Lucerne, but here they are much 
smaller and less rugged. Late in the evening, just 
as it was getting dusk, I returned delighted with my 
afternoon, although my mind often wandered back to 
the reception I ought to have been enjoying at Naum- 
burg. 1 A little child with flaxen hair was looking 
about for nuts, and was very amusing. At last an 
aged couple came towards me, father and daughter. 
They had a few words to say, and listened in turn. 
He was a very old, hoary cabinet maker, had been in 
Naumburg fifty-two years ago while on his wander 
ings, and remembered a very hot day there. His son 
has been a missionary in India since 1858, and is ex 
pected to come to Chur next year in order to see his 
father once more. The daughter said she had often 
been to Egypt, and spoke of Bale as an unpleasant, 
hot, and stuffy town. I accompanied the good old 
hobbling couple a little further. Then I returned to 
dinner at my hotel, where I found one or two com 
panions ready for the Splugen tour on the morrow. 
On Monday I rose at 4 a. in., the diligence being timed 
to leave just after 5. Before we left we had to sit 
in an evil-smelling waiting room, among a number of 
peasants from Graubtinden and Tessin. But at this 
early hour man is in any case a disagreeable creature. 
I was released by the departure of the diligence, for 
I had arranged with the conductor to occupy his seat 
high up on the top of the conveyance. There I was 



"Note by E.F.N.: "The touching letter from our dear 
mother is still extant in which she expresses her disappoint 
ment over the fact that after she had made all kinds of prepa 
rations, a letter came instead of her son." 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 85 

alone, and it was the finest diligence drive I have ever 
had. I cannot write about the tremendous grandeur 
of the Via mala; it made me feel as if I did not yet 
know Switzerland at all. This is my Nature, and 
when we got near to Spliigen I was overcome by the 
wish to stay there. I found a good hotel and a little 
room that was quite touching in its simplicity. And 
yet it has a balcony from which one can enjoy a most 
beautiful view. This high Alpine valley (about 5,000 
feet) is exactly to my taste pure and bracing air, 
hills and rocks of every shape and size, and mighty 
snow mountains all around. But what I like most of 
all are the magnificent high roads along which I walk 
for hours at a time, sometimes in the direction of 
Bernaclino and sometimes along the heights of the 
Pass of Spliigen, without heeding the road in the least. 
But as often as I look about me I am certain to see 
something gorgeous and unexpected. To-morrow it is 
almost sure to snow, and I am heartily looking for 
ward to it. In the afternoon, if the diligence arrives, 
I take my meal with the new arrivals. There is no 
need for me to speak to anyone; no one knows me; 
I am absolutely alone and could stay here for weeks, 
sitting and walking about. In my little room I work 
with renewed vigour that is to say, I make notes and 
collect ideas for the theme that is chiefly occupying 
me at present : "The Future of Our Educational In 
stitutions." 

You do not know how pleased I am with this place. 
Since I have come to know it, Switzerland has ac 
quired quite a new charm for me. Now I know of a 
nook where I can gain strength, work with fresh 



,86 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

energy, and live without any company. In this place 
human beings seem to be like phantoms. 

Now I have described everything to you. The days 
that follow will all be like the first. Thank God, those 
damnations known as "change" and "distraction" are 
lacking here. Here I am together with my pen, ink, 
and paper. All of us send our heartiest wishes. 
Your devoted son, 

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 

To ROHDE. 

Bale, November, 1872. 
MY VERY DEAR FRIEND : 

I think we shall be able to survive it. But some 
thing has happened here that somewhat depresses me. 
In our University the philologists liare kept aivay this 
winter term. A perfectly unique occurrence which 
you will interpret in the same way as I do. In one 
particular case I know for a fact that a certain stu 
dent who wished to study philology here was pre 
vented from doing so in Bonn, and that he joyfully 
wrote to his relations saying he thanked God he was 
not going to a University where I was a teacher. In 
short, the Vehmic Court 1 has done its duty, but we 
must not take any notice of it. It is jolly hard though 
for me to know that the little University should have 
suffered on my account. We are twenty men short 
of what we were last term. With the utmost pains 
I was only able to muster two students to attend a 
lecture on the rhetoric of the Greeks and Romans 

Vehmic Court, a secret body exercising jurisdiction in the 
Middle Ages. 



FBIEDEICH NIETZSCHE 87 

that is to say, one Germanic and one Law student 
Jacob Burckhardt and Eatsherr Vischer enjoyed 
your essay immensely. I informed each of them of 
the fine copies you sent me, and I also told Overbeck, 
Eitschl and the Florentine ladies, Olga Herzen and 
Fr&ulein von Meysenbug, of them. I even have two 
of them in an Edition de Luxe. I wonder whether 
these copies are as you pictured them in your dream. 
They bear the title E. Rohde on The Birth of Tragedy 
and include your two essays. To me these essays con 
stitute a veritable treasure which every author of the 
past and future will have to envy me. My friend Ini- 
merman, here, always says that your stuff is at least 
as good as mine. In short, they have noticed our 
Orestes and Pylades relationship ^atajtoldiv evt 
leivoiai 1 and they rejoice over it. What I only men 
tion, because neither of us doubts it, is that many 
more are angry about it. ... 

. Have you heard of the Zollner scandal in 
Leipzig? Just have a look at his book on the nature 
of comets. There is a tremendous deal on our side 
in it. Since this production the honest man has been 
as good as excommunicated in the most shabby man 
ner from the whole of the republic of letters. His 
nearest friends are renouncing him and he is pro 
claimed "mad" to all the world ! He is seriously de 
clared "deranged," simply because he refuses to blow 
into the Tantara trumpet of the clique. Such is the 
spirit of Leipzig s scholastic ochlocracy! 
Are you aware, too, that a certain alienist has 

Amongst the Forbidding 1 (severe) Foreigners. Trans 
lator. 



88 SELECTED LETTEKS OF 

proved in the most "dignified language" that Wagner 
is demented? And you are probably aware of the 
fact that the same thing has been done for Schopen 
hauer by another alienist. 

You see to what measures these "healthy people" 
resort. True, they do not decree the scaffold for the 
discomfiting ingenia, but this sort of sneaking and 
malevolent creation of suspicion answers their pur 
pose much better than the sudden removal of their 
enemies ; they undermine the confidence of the rising 
generation. Schopenhauer forgot this dodge! It is 
singularly worthy of the vulgarity of the vulgarest 
age. . . . 

Yours affectionately, 

F. 

NIETZSCHE To MALVIDA VON MEYSENBUG. 

Bale, April 6, 1873. 
DEAREST FRAULEIN: 

. At Bayreuth I hope to find courage and 
good cheer once more and to fortify myself in all that 
is right. I dreamt last night that I had my Gradus 
ad Parnassum rarely and beautifully bound ; the sym 
bolism attached to the binding of a book is compre 
hensible enough, even if deficient in taste. This is a 
truth ! From time to time one ought to have oneself 
newly bound, so to speak, by intercourse with good 
and robust men; otherwise one loses isolated leaves 
and falls ever more and more to pieces. And that our 
life ought to be a Gradus ad Parnassian is also a 
truth which one ought often to repeat to oneself. My 
Parnassus of the future is provided I take great 



FEIEDEICH NIETZSCHE 89 

pains and have decent luck as well as plenty of time 
to become perhaps a tolerable writer, but above all 
to become ever more moderate in the production of 
literature. From time to time I feel a childish repul 
sion toward printed paper, which at such times seems 
to me simply soiled paper. And I can picture a time 
when men will prefer reading little and writing less, 
while thinking much and doing even more. For the 
whole world is now waiting for the man of deeds, who 
strips the habits of centuries from himself and others, 
and who sets a better example for posterity to follow. 
Under my own roof something very fine is in process 
of completion, a description of our present day the 
ology, bearing particularly upon the spirit of Chris 
tianity. My friend and brother in thought, Professor 
Overbeck, to my own knowledge the freest theologist 
now living, and in any case one of the greatest au 
thorities on Church history, is now at work on this 
description, and will, if I am not mistaken and we 
are quite agreed on this point make known a few 
terrible truths to the world. Bale looks well on the 
road to becoming the most suspected of places ! . . . 
Your devoted friend, 

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 



NIETZSCHE To His MOTHER. 

Bale, September 21, 1873. 
MY DARLING MOTHER: 

And so our dear aunt has passed away and we are 
becoming more and more lonely. To grow old and 
to grow solitary seem to be synonymous, and at last 



90 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

a man is all alone and makes others feel lonely by 
his death. 

It was precisely because I knew so little of my 
father, and had to form a picture of him from the 
materials supplied by chance conversations, that his 
nearest relatives were more to me than aunts usually 
are. When I think of Aunt Kickchen and the Plauen 
relatives, etc., I rejoice over the fact that they all 
remained true to their exceptional nature until they 
attained to a great age, and were sufficiently self- 
reliant to be less than usually dependent upon ex 
ternal influences and upon the doubtful good will of 
their fellow creatures. I rejoice over this fact be 
cause in it I find the racial peculiarity of those who 
call themselves Nietzsche, and I possess it myself. 

And that is why our good aunt was always so kindly 
disposed towards me, because she realized how akin 
we were in one important particular, namely, in this 
important Nietzschean trait. For this reason I honour 
their memory by wishing with all my might that when 
I grow old I may not desert myself that is to say, 
the spirit of my forebears. 

Do not expect any more from me for the moment, 
dear mother you who are so very much worried be 
cause you always will be so helpful and think kindly 
of your son, FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 

To FREIHERR KARL VON GERSDORFF. 

Bale, October 27, 1873. 
MY DEAR FRIEND : 

The green numbers of the Grenzboten 
have just published a Non plus ultra under the title 



FRIEDKICH NIETZSCHE 91 

of "Herr Friedrich Nietzsche and German Culture." 
All the powers are mobilized against me the police, 
the authorities, and the colleagues. It is emphatically 
declared that I shall be ostracized from every German 
university, and that Bale will probably do likewise. 
It proceeds to inform the reader that owing to a trick 
of RitschFs and the stupidity of the people of Bale 
I was transformed from a mere student into a Univer 
sity professor. Bale then came in for some abuse as 
an obscure little University. I am denounced as an 
enemy of the German Empire and the ally of the In 
ternationalists, etc. in short, a commendable and 
cheerful Documentnm. What a pity I cannot send it 
to you ! Even Fritszch gets a kick or two ; they think 
it scandalous that a German publisher should ever 
have accepted my work. So you see, dearest friend, 
our No. 1 has as Fritzsch would say "found favour 
with the public." 

Nine Bale newspapers have now referred to me in 
all manner of ways, but on the whole much more seri 
ously than that truculent Grenzboten reviewer and 
humbug. 

Your ever devoted and affectionate friend, 

F. N. 

To KOIIDE. 

Naumburg, December 31, 1873. 
MY DEAR FRIEND : 

What a lot of good you have done me with your 
letter, particularly as I was lying in bed feeling ill 
after the journey and full of resentment towards life. 
Really, if I had not my friends, I wonder whether 1 



92 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

should not myself begin to believe that I am demented. 
As it is, however, by my adherence to you I adhere to 
myself, and if we stand security for each other, some 
thing must ultimately result from our way of think 
ing a possibility which until now the whole w r orld 
has doubted. 

And to this whole world belong even the Ritschls, 
to whom I paid a short visit and who in half an hour 
fired a rapid volley of words at me and against me, 
under which I remained unscathed and, moreover, 
felt it. Finally they came to the conclusion that I 
was arrogant and despised them. The general im 
pression was hopeless. At one moment old Ritschl 
simply raved with indignation about Wagner as a 
poet, and then again about the French (by-the-bye, I 
am understood to be an admirer of the French) ; 
finally he argued from hearsay, but in the most atro 
cious manner, about Overbeck s book. I learnt that 
Germany was still in its ? teens, and therefore I too 
claimed the right of being something of a boy in his 
teens (for they also censured my lack of moderation 
and my brutality towards Strauss). On the other 
hand, Strauss as a classical writer of prose is com 
pletely annihilated, for old Ritschl and his wife say 
so, and have long since come to the conclusion that 
even "Voltaire" 1 was written in abominably bad style. 

I lived at Fritzsch s and was really delighted with 
that good man. Things are going well with him, his 
health included. My second "Thoughts Out of Sea 
son" (or over- sea soned thoughts) is now in the press. 
You will receive the first proofs in a few days, for, 



Another book by Strauss. Translator. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 93 

my dear friend, I am going to avail myself of your 
willing kindness and beg you to help me with your 
advice here and there, and moral and intellectual cor 
rection. After all, we must not lose much time, for 
it will be printed quickly and must be quite ready at 
the end of January. 

Therefore, my dear good friend, send your corrected 
proofs every time as soon as possible to me here in 
Bale, for the long distances make things a little com 
plicated and we must try to avoid any hitch in the 
printing. . . . 

Karl Hillebrand s anonymous book, "Twelve Let 
ters By An, Aesthetic Heretic" (Berlin, Oppenheiin, 
1874), has given me the most unbounded joy. How 
refreshing it is! Read and wonder; he is one of us, 
one of the "Company of the Hopeful." 

May this company flourish in the new year and 
may we remain good comrades ! Ah, my dear fellow, 
we have no choice; we must either be hopeful or des 
perate. Once and for all, I have resolved to hope. 

I was very vexed at the horribly cautious academic 
Confratres in Kiel. Fancy such fear of "Youth" ! . . . 

So may we remain faithful friends in 1874 and con 
tinue so until the last day. 

Yours, FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 

To ROHDE. 

Bale, February 15, 1874. 
DEAREST FRIEND: 

First of all, my best Sunday greeting to you. Are 
you living in the gray north? We are having such 
fine warm days with plenty of sunshine and even deep- 



94 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

coloured sunsets already. We have only bad one day s 
snow the whole winter. Since the new year, too, I 
have been living more carefully and rationally, and 
am feeling fit in consequence. My eyes are the only 
trouble. I sorely need an amanuensis. I must tell 
you though that for the last six months a most sym 
pathetic and talented pupil has come under my notice, 
one who already belongs to our party heart and soul. 
His name is Bauingartner, an Alsatian, and the sou 
of a manufacturer of Mulhausen. He comes to me 
every Wednesday afternoon and stops the evening, 
and then I dictate to him or he reads aloud to me, or 
letters are written. In short, he is a godsend to me, 
and, I assure you, will be for all of us one day. At 
Easter I shall go back to Naumburg again in order 
to try a systematic course of rest and wholesome liv 
ing, and then I shall ultimately be able to bear things 
a little better. I have thought out a good deal since 
Christmas, and have had to roam so far afield that 
often when my proofs arrive I wonder when I could 
have written the stuff, and whether it can all be my 
work. I am feeling very hostile just now towards all 
political and smug bourgeois virtues and duties, and 
occasionally I even soar far above "national" feeling. 
May God mend this and me! 

In addition to all your trouble, dear faithful friend, 
you have also had that of proof-reading. The smallest 
hint is gratefully turned to account, and many a 
blemish has been removed by your hand. By-the-bye, 
a whole number of strange errors had nothing to do 
with me, but arose out of the copying of my illegible 
MS. Unfortunately I was unable to avail myself of 



PRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 95 

jour help for the last sheet. For many reasons I 
thought they had forgotten to send it to you and time 
was pressing. Luckily I was able to remove the worst 
stumbling block myself, and have made the text of the 
conclusion a little lighter by cutting out about a page. 
A certain generality of treatment was, however, neces 
sary, as I had to take into account the elaboration of 
some of the special arguments in subsequent 
"Thoughts Out of Season." So let the monster go its 
way. I wonder who will find any pleasure in it ! Who 
will even read it? I believe people will think it a piece 
of great foolishness on my part and they will be 
right ! But I am really heartily tired of all this clev 
erness and must become absorbed in myself. On my 
honour, I cannot help it. But promise me you will not 
immediately despise me on that account. For I really 
believe that you understand me in these things and 
have a right to it, dear friend. When I think of my 
fellow philologists I sometimes feel something like 
shame. Still, I do not believe I can be so easily driven 
off my appointed path and before that I mean to say 
for once all I have to say; one cannot do oneself a 
greater kindness than that. When you get your copy 
(which I hope will be within a fortnight), I beg you 
to do me just this one favour : tell me as severely and 
briefly as you like all about my faults, my mannerisms, 
and the dangers of my method of exposition, for I am 
not satisfied with it and aspire to something quite 
different. Help me, therefore, with a few little hints, 
I shall be most grateful. 
Good-bye, dear friend. 

Yours, FRIEDRICH N. 



96 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

To FREIHERR KARL VON GERSDORFP. 

Bale, April 1, 1874. 
MY DEAR FRIEND : 

If only you had not such an exaggeratedly high 
opinion of me! I am afraid that one day you will 
be somewhat disappointed in me, and I will inaugu 
rate this change in you at once by declaring from the 
bottom of my heart that I deserve not one word of 
the praise you have lavished upon me. If only you 
knew how disheartened and melancholy I really feel 
about myself as a productive being! All I long for 
is a little freedom, a taste of the real breath of life; 
and I kick, I revolt against the many, the unutterably 
many constraints to which my mind is still subject. 
And of real productive work there can be no thought 
so long as one is not freed, however slightly, from 
one s trammels and the pain or oppression arising 
from one s limited outlook. Shall I ever attain to 
inner freedom? It is very doubtful. The goal is too 
remote, and even if one gets within measurable dis 
tance of it, one has by that time consumed all one s 
strength in a long search and struggle. When free 
dom is at last attained, one is as lifeless and feeble 
as a day-fly by night. That is what I dread so much. 
It is a misfortune to be so conscious of one s struggle 
and so early in life! And unlike the artist or the 
ascetic, I cannot balance my doubts by means of great 
deeds. How wretched and loathsome it is to me to 
be continually wailing like a mire-drum. For the 
moment I am really very, very tired of everything 
more than tired. 



FRIED RICH NIETZSCHE 97 

My health, by-the-bye, is excellent; you need have 
no fears about that. But I am not quite satisfied 
with Nature, who ought to have given me a little more 
intellect as well as a warmer heart. I always fall 
short of the best. To know this, is the greatest tor 
ture a man can have. Regular work in an official post 
is so good because it leads to a certain obtuseness and 
then one suffers less. 

. Accept my best wishes for yourself and 
your dear parents. Think what life would be like 
without a friend! Could one bear it? Would one 
have borne it? Dubito. 

FRIDERICUS. 

To ROHDE. 

Bale, October 7, 1874. 
MY DEAR FRIEND : 

Last night I returned from the mountains, and this 
morning I mean to set to and consecrate the work of 
the winter term by means of a birthday letter to you. 
I do not lack either courage or confidence; I have 
brought back both of these with me from the moun 
tains and the lakes, where I discovered what it was 
that one lacked most, or rather what it was that one 
has too much of. That is to say, egoism ; and this is 
the result of one s eternal lonely brooding and lonely 
suffering. In the end, one begins to feel constantly 
as if one were covered with a hundred scars and every 
movement were painful. But, joking apart, I shall 
very soon be thirty and things must change somewhat ; 
they must become more virile, more even in tenour, 
and no longer so damned unstable. To continue one s 



98 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

work and to think of oneself as little as possible 
that must be the first necessity. After some reflection 
it has struck me that I am very ungrateful and 
childish with my irritating despair, for I have been 
thinking how incomparably lucky I have been during 
the last seven years and how little I can gauge how 
rich I am in my friends. Truth to tell, I live through 
you; I advance by leaning upon your shoulders, for 
my self-esteem is wretchedly weak and you have to 
assure me of my own value again and again. In 
addition to that, you are my best examples, for both 
you and Overbeck bear life s lot with more dignity 
and less wailing, although in many respects things 
are more and more difficult for you than for me. But 
what I feel most is the way you outstrip me in loving 
solicitude and unselfishness. I have thought much 
about these facts of late, and I may surely be allowed 
to mention them to you in a birthday letter. 

Farewell, my dear friend, and remain as affec 
tionate to me as you have been hitherto then we 
shall easily be able to endure life yet a while longer. 
Your devoted friend, 

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 

NIETZSCHE To MALVIDA VON MEYSENBUG. 

Bale, October 25, 1874. 
DEAREST FRAULEIN : 

At last I am able once again to let you have some 
news of me by sending you another work of mine. 1 



J The third of the "Thoughts Out of Season" Schopenhauer 
as an Educator. Translator. 



FBIEDEICH NIETZSCHE 99 

From the contents of this last essay you will be able 
to form some idea of all that I have experienced in 
the interval. Also, that with the lapse of years I am, 
among other things, in a much more serious and pre 
carious position than you might gather from the mere 
reading of the book itself. In summa, however, you 
will surmise that things are going well with me, and 
going onwards, too, and that all I lack, alas! is just 
a little of the sunshine of life. Otherwise I should 
be compelled to acknowledge that things could not 
be going better with me than they are. For it is in 
deed a piece of great good fortune for me to progress 
step by step towards the accomplishment of my mis 
sion. And now I have written three of the thirteen 
"Thoughts Out of Season," and the fourth is already 
taking shape in my mind. How happy I shall feel 
when I have at last unburdened my heart of all its 
negative hates and all its indignation, and yet I dare 
hope that in five years I shall be within sight of this 
glorious goal ! Already at the present moment I am 
thankful to feel how very much more clearly and 
sharply I am learning to see things spiritually (not 
bodily, alas!) and how very much more definitely 
and intelligibly I can express myself. Provided that 
I am not led entirely astray in my course, or that my 
health does not break down, something must certainly 
come of all this. Just imagine a series of fifty such 
essays as the four I have already written all the 
product of a souPs experience forced into the light 
of day! With such matter one could not help but 
produce some effect; for the tongues of many would 
have been unloosed and enough would have been put 



100 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

into words that could not be so quickly forgotten, 
much that to-day is almost as good as forgotten yea, 
that is scarcely to hand. And what should divert me 
in my course? Even hostile attacks I can now turn 
to account and to pleasure, for they often enlighten 
me more quickly than friendly sympathy, and I desire 
nothing more than to be enlightened about the highly 
complex system of conflicting elements that consti 
tutes the "modern world." Fortunately, I am quite 
devoid of all political and social ambition, so that I 
need fear no dangers in that direction no loadstones 
to draw me aside, no compulsion to compromise or 
to consider consequences; in short, I can say all I 
think, and what I want to do is to test once and for 
all to what extent modern mankind so proud of its 
freedom of thought can endure free thought. I do not 
ask anything either excessive or fantastic from life; 
besides, in the course of the next few years we shall 
experience something for which all the world of the 
past and the future may envy us. Moreover, I am 
blessed beyond all deserts with the most excellent of 
friends; and now, quite between ourselves, the only 
thing I want, and that quite soon, is a good wife, and 
then I shall regard all my worldly wishes as fulfilled. 
All the rest depends upon myself. 

Meanwhile, my heartiest wishes for your health, 
and may you continue to think kindly of 

Your most devoted servant, 

FEIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 



FKIEDEICH NIETZSCHE 101 

NIETZSCHE To His SISTER. 

Bale, January 22, 1875. 
MY DEAR SISTER : 

It was a good thing that you wrote me a letter close 
on the heels of the one mother wrote, for I was beside 
myself and had already written down some bitter 
words. I now see that I misunderstood her. 

But how is it that she was able to misunderstand 
me so, and all this time to conceal from me this in 
comprehensible hostility to the two Wagners? Am I 
so difficult to understand and so easy to misunder 
stand in all my intentions, plans, and friendships? 
Ah, we lonely ones and free spirits it is borne home 
to us that in some way or other we constantly appear 
different from what we think. Whereas we wish for 
nothing more than truth and straightforwardness, we 
are surrounded by a net of misunderstanding, and 
despite our most ardent wishes we cannot help our 
actions being smothered in a cloud of false opinion, 
attempted compromises, semi-concessions, charitable 
silence, and erroneous interpretations. Such things 
gather a weight of melancholy on our brow; for we 
hate more than death the thought that pretence should 
be necessary, and such incessant chafing against these 
things makes us volcanic and menacing. From time 
to time we avenge ourselves for all our enforced con 
cealment and compulsory self-restraint. We emerge 
from our cells with terrible faces, our words and 
deeds are then explosions, and it is not beyond the 
verge of possibility that we perish through ourselves. 
Thus dangerously do I live! It is precisely we soli 
tary ones that require love and companions in whose 



102 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

presence we may be open and simple, and the eternal 
struggle of silence and dissimulation can cease. 

Yes, I am glad that I can be myself, openly and 
honestly with you, for you are such a good friend 
and companion, and the older you grow and the more 
you free yourself from the Naumburg atmosphere, the 
more will you certainly adapt yourself to all my views 
and aspirations. 

With love and devotion, 

YOUR BROTHER. 

(Marginal note by Nietzsche in the foregoing let 
ter) : You can read all this in print in my Schopen 
hauer; but they are at the same time my own ex 
periences and feelings that always visit me as at the 
present moment, for instance. 



To ROHDE. 

Bale, February 28, 1875. 
DEAREST FRIEND: 

. Now, let me tell you something you do 
not yet know something which you, as my most inti 
mate and most sympathetic friend, have a right to 
know. We two, Overbeck and I, have a domestic 
trouble, a domestic ghost. Please don t have a fit 
when you hear that X is contemplating going over 
to the Holy Catholic Church and wants to become a 
Catholic priest in Germany. This has only just come 
to light, but as we afterwards heard, to our dismay, 
he has been thinking over it for years, though his 
resolution has never been so mature as it is now. I 
cannot help feeling hurt over it, and at times it seems 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 103 

to me the worst possible slight that could be given 
me. Of course, he does not mean it in that way, for 
up to the present he has not for one moment thought 
of anyone but himself, and the confounded stress our 
religion lays on the "salvation of one s own soul" 
leaves him utterly indifferent to anything else, friend 
ship included. ... At last, he confessed what his at 
titude was, and now every three days, almost, there is 
an explosion. The poor man is in a desperate condi 
tion and no longer accessible to words of counsel; 
that is to say, he is so entirely led by vague aspira 
tions that he seems to us like a wandering valleity. 
Oh, our excellent, pure Protestant air ! I have never 
in my life before felt my dependence upon the spirit 
of Luther so strongly as I do now, and this wretched 
man wants to turn his back on all these liberating 
geniuses ! It is so very hard for me to understand how, 
after eight years of intimate association with me, this 
spectre should arise at my elbow, that I often wonder 
whether he can be in his right senses, and whether he 
ought not to undergo a cold- water cure. And, after 
all, I am the man on whom the blame of this con 
version will rest. God knows I do not say that out 
of egoistic solicitude. But I, too, believe that I stand 
for something holy, and I should blush for shame if 
I were suspected of having had anything to do with 
Catholicism, for there is nothing I hate with a more 
deadly hatred. 

Interpret this ghastly story in as friendly a manner 
as possible and send me a few words of comfort. I 
have been wounded precisely in my friendship, and 
hate the dishonest, sneaking nature of many friend- 



104 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

ships more than ever, and shall have to be more cau 
tious in future. X himself will doubtless be quite 

at home in some sort of conventicle, but in our com 
pany he seems to me now to be suffering incessantly. 
Your disconsolate friend, 

FRIEDRICH N. 
For Overbeck also. 
Please burn this letter if you think fit, 

To ROHDE. 

Bale, December 8, 1875. 

Ah, dear friend, I did not know what to say to you, 
so I held my peace and was full of fear and anxiety 
on your account. I did not even like to ask how 
things were going, but how often, how very often my 
heartfelt sympathy sped your way! Everything has 
turned out as badly as possible, and I can think of 
only one way in which it could have been worse to 
wit, if the matter were less appallingly plain than it 
actually is. The most intolerable thing of all is surely 
doubt, ghostlike semi-certainty and you have at least 
been relieved of this, which was such a torment to 
you here. I am now racking my brain in trying to 
discover how you can possibly be helped. For a long 
while I thought that they were going to transfer you 
and that they would give you an appointment at Frei 
burg in Breisgau. But afterwards it struck me that 
such an idea had never even entered their minds. 
Certainly the publication of your work will prove the 
best remedy in your case. One cannot help deriving 
some pleasure from that, and at all events it will force 
you to think of other matters. This promises to be a 



FEIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 105 

steady pursuit and will perhaps help you over this 
terrible winter. 

Let me tell you how I am faring. As far as my 
health is concerned, things are not so good as I really 
supposed they would be when I effected the complete 
change in my mode of life here. Every two or three 
weeks I have to lie in bed for about thirty-six hours 
in great pain with the usual trouble you know so well. 
Perhaps it will gradually get better, but I feel as if 
I had never had such a hard winter. What with new 
lectures, etc., the day drags so wearily that in the 
evening I am always more and more glad to have 
finished, and actually marvel at the hardness of exist 
ence. The whole exasperating business does not seem 
worth while; the pain you inflict on yourself and 
others is out of all proportion to the benefit either 
they or you yourself derive from your efforts. This 
is the opinion of a man who does not happen to be 
troubled by his passions, though he is certainly not 
made happy by them either. During the hours that 
I rest my eyes, my sister reads aloud to me, almost 
always Walter Scott, whom I would readily agree 
with Schopenhauer in calling "immortal." What 
pleases me so much in him is his artistic calm, his 
Andante. I should like to recommend him to you, 
but there are some things which, though they benefit 
me, can get no hold of your spirit, because you think 
more quickly and more sharply than I do. As to the 
use of novels for the treatment of one s soul, I will 
say nothing more particularly as you are already 
forced to help yourself with your own "novel." Nay, 
I advise you to read "Don Quixote" again not be- 



106 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

cause it is the most cheerful but because it is the most 
austere reading I know. I took it up during the sum 
mer holidays, and all personal troubles seemed to 
shrink to nothing and appear simply laughable, not 
even worthy of a wry face. All earnestness, all pas 
sion, and everything men take to heart is Quixotism 
for some things it is good to know this; otherwise it 
is better not to know it. ... 
Your friend, 

F. N. 

To FREIHERR KARL VON GERSDORFF. 

Bale, December 13, 1875. 
MY DEAR FRIEND : 

I received your letter yesterday, and this morning, 
just at the beginning of a week of hard work, your 
books arrived. A man certainly ought to feel cheerful 
when he has such sympathetic and affectionate 
friends! Believe me, I admire the fine instinct of 
your friendship I trust the expression does not 
sound too biological which made you light upon 
these Indian maxims, just as I, with a sort of waxing 
thirst, have been turning longing eyes to India for the 
last two months. From Schmeitzner s friend, Herr 
Widemann, I borrowed the English translation of the 
Sutra Nipata, a portion of the sacred books of the 
Buddhists, and I have already made a household word 
of a strong closing sentence from one of the Sutras 
"and thus I wander alone like a rhinoceros." My con 
viction about the worthlessness of life and the delu 
siveness of all aims frequently oppresses me so keen 
ly, particularly when I lie in bed feeling ill, that I 



FEIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 107 

long to hear more of this Indian wisdom, provided it 
is not permeated with Judaeo-Christian phraseology. 
For, some time or other, I learnt to feel such a loath 
ing for this phraseology that I literally have to be on 
my guard against dealing unjustly with it. 

As to how the world wags this you can tell from 
the enclosed letter from that terrible sufferer Z . Of 
course one ought not to cling to it, and yet what can 
help one to endure life, when one no longer really 
wills anything! I am of opinion that the will to 
knowledge is the last remaining vestige of the will to 
life ; it is an intermediary region between willing and 
no longer willing, a piece of purgatory, in so far as 
we look discontentedly and contemptuously on life, 
and a piece of Nirvana, in so far as, through it, the 
soul approaches the state of pure disinterested con 
templation. I am training myself to unlearn the eager 
hurry of the will to knowledge. This is what all 
scholars suffer from, and that is why they all lack 
the glorious serenity derived from acquired enlight 
enment, insight. For the present I am too heavily 
burdened by the various claims of my official post 
to help falling all too frequently though reluctantly 
into that eager hurry, but by degrees I shall put all 
this right. And then my health will be more settled 
a condition I shall not attain before I thoroughly 
deserve it, before, that is to say, I have discovered 
that state of my soul which is, as it were, my destiny, 
that healthy state in which it has retained but one of 
all its instincts the will to know. A simple home, 
a perfectly regular daily routine, no enervating han 
kering after honours or society, my sister s company 



108 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

(which makes everything about me Nietzschean and 
strangeful restful), the consciousness of having 40 
excellent books of all times and climes (and many 
more which are not altogether bad), the constant joy 
of having found educators in Schopenhauer and Wag 
ner, and the Greeks as the object of my daily work, 
the belief that henceforward I shall no longer lack 
pupils 1 all these things now for the time being make 
up my life. Unfortunately my chronic physical trou 
bles, which at fortnightly intervals seize me for about 
two days at a time and sometimes longer, must be 
added to the reckoning. But they must end some 
day. 

Later on, when you are securely settled down in 
your own home, you will be able to reckon upon me 
as a holiday guest who will be likely to spend some 
considerable time with you. It is often a solace to me 
to exercise my imagination anticipating these later 
years of your life, and I often think I may one day 
be of service to you in your sons. Yes, dear old de 
voted Gersdorff, we have now shared a goodly portion 
of youth, experience, education, inclination, hatred, 
striving, and hope in common ; we know that we can 
thoroughly enjoy even sitting beside each other in 
silence. I don t think we need to give each other 
any pledges or promises, because we thoroughly be 
lieve in each other. I know from experience that you 
help me where you can, and whenever I have reason 
to rejoice I always think, "How pleased Gersdorff 
will be !" For, I must tell you, you have the magnifi- 



1( The attacks of his German colleagues had emptied his 
auditorium. Translator. 



FRIED RICH NIETZSCHE 109 

cent gift of sympathizing with another s joy and 
this is a rarer and nobler capacity than pity. 

And now farewell, and may you cross the threshold 
of your new year of life the same man as you have 
always been. I cannot wish you more. It was as 
this man that you won your friends, and if there are 
still a few sensible women knocking around you will 
not have much longer 

"To wander alone like a rhinoceros." 
Your devoted friend, 

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 



To FREIHERR R. v. SEYDLITZ. 

Bale, September 24, 1876. 
DEAR SIR: 

After a letter such as yours, containing so stirring 
a testimony of the depth of your soul and intellect, I 
can say nothing but this: let us keep in close touch 
with each other, let us see to it that we do not lose 
each other again now we have found each other! 
I rejoice in the certainty of having won another genu 
ine friend. And if you only knew what this means 
to me! For am I not as constantly engaged in the 
kidnapping of men as any pirate not, however, with 
the object of selling them into bondage, but rather in 
order to sell them, with myself, into freedom. 
Your sincere and devoted friend, 

FRIEDR. NIETZSCHE. 



110 SELECTED LETTEItS OF 

To FREIHERB KARL VON GERSDORFF. 

Bale, May 26, 1876. 
DEAR FRIEND : 

. . . I must tell you something, which, so far as 
other people are concerned, is still a secret, and must 
remain so for the present : following upon an invita 
tion of the best friend in the world, Fraulein von 
Meysenbug, I intend in October to spend a whole year 
in Italy. I have not yet been granted leave by the 
authorities, but I think it will come, more particu 
larly as, with the view of sparing so small a corpora 
tion the burden of my pay, I have volunteered to for 
feit my salary for the whole period. Freedom! You 
cannot imagine how deeply I breathe when I think of 
it ! We shall live in the simplest manner possible at 
Fano (on the Adriatic). This is my news. All my 
hopes and plans regarding my ultimate spiritual 
emancipation and untiring advancement are once 
more in full bloom. My confidence in myself, I mean 
in my better self, fills me with courage. Even the 
state of my eyes does not affect this. ( Schiess thinks 
they are worse than they were some time ago. The 
long and short of it is I want a secretary) . My lectures 
are very w T ell attended. In one of them I have about 20 
scholars, in the other about 10, and the same numbers 
at the school. I shall certainly not marry; on the 
whole, I hate the limitations and obligations of the 
whole civilized order of things so very much that it 
would be difficult to find a woman free-spirited enough 
to follow my lead. The Greek philosophers seem to 
me ever more and more to represent the paragon of 
what one should aim at in our mode of life. I read 



FKIEDBICH NIETZSCHE 111 

Xenophon s Memorabilia with the deepest personal in 
terest. Philologists regard them as hopelessly tedi 
ous. You see how little of a philologist I am. 

F. N. 

To MADAME LOUISE O. 

Bale, September, 1876. 
DEAR, KIND FRIEND : 

In the first place I was unable to write, for I under 
went an eye-cure, and now I ought not to write for a 
long long time to come ! Nevertheless I read your two 
letters again and again ; I almost believe I read them 
too often. But this new friendship is like new wine 
very agreeable though perhaps a trifle dangerous. 

At least for me. 

But for you also, especially when I think of the 
sort of free spirit you have lighted upon ! a man who 
longs for nothing more than daily to be rid of some 
comforting belief, and who seeks and finds his happi 
ness in this daily increase in the emancipation of his 
spirit. It is possible I ictih to become more of a free 
spirit than I am capable of becoming. 

So what is to be done? An "Abduction from the 
Harem" 1 of Faith, without Mozart s music? 

Do you know Fraulein von Meysenbug s autobiog 
raphy published under the title of "Memoirs of an 
Idealist ? 

What is poor little Marcel doing with his little 
teeth? We all have to suffer before we really learn 
to bite, physically and morally biting in order to 

" Die Entfiihrung aus dem Serail," first performed in 
Vienna July 10th, 1752. Translator. 



1112 SELECTED LETTEKS OF 

nourish ourselves, of course, not simply for the sake 
of biting! 

Is there no good portrait in existence of a certain 
blond and beautiful woman? 

Sunday week I shall go to Italy for a long stay. 
You will hear from me when I get there. In any case 
a letter sent to my address in Bale (45 Schiitzengra- 
ben) will reach me. 

In brotherly affection, 
Yours 
DR. FRIEDR. NIETZSCHE. 

To ROHDE. 

Rosenlauibad, August 28, 1877. 
DEAR OLD FRIEND : 

How can I express it? But every time I think of 
you I am overcome by a sort of deep emotion; and 
when, a day or two ago, someone wrote to me "Rohde s 
young wife is an exceedingly sweet woman whose 
every feature is illumined by her noble soul," I actu 
ally wept. And I can give you absolutely no plausible 
reason for having done so. We might ask the psychol 
ogists for an explanation. Ultimately they would de 
clare it was envy and that I grudged you your happi 
ness, or that it was my vexation at someone having 
run away with my friend and having concealed him 
Heaven alone knows where, on the Rhine or in Paris, 
and refused to give him up again. When I was hum 
ming my "Hymn to Solitude" to myself a few days 
ago, I suddenly had the feeling that you could not 
abide my music at all and that you would much have- 
preferred a song on Dual Bliss. The same evening I 



FBIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 113 

played a song of this sort, as well as I was able, and it 
was so successful that all the angels might have lis 
tened to it with joy, particularly the human ones. But 
it was in a dark room and no one heard it. Thus I am 
forced to consume my own happiness, tears, and every 
thing in private. 

Shall I tell you all about myself how every day I 
set out two hours before the sun rises on the hills and 
after that take my walks only among the lengthening 
shadows of the afternoon and evening? How many 
things I have thought out, and how rich I feel now 
that this year I have at last been allowed to strip off 
the old moss growth of the daily routine of teaching 
and thinking! As to my life here, I can only say that 
it is tolerable, in spite of all my ailments which have 
certainly followed me even up to the heights but I 
have so many intervals of happy exultation both of 
thought and feeling. 

A little while ago I had a genuinely sacred day, 
thanks to "Prometheus Unbound." If the poet 1 be 
not a true genius then I do not know what genius 
means. The whole thing is wonderful, and I felt as 
if I had met my own transfigured and exalted self in 
the work. I bow low before a man who is capable 
of having and expressing such thoughts. 

In three days I shall return to Bale. My sister is 
already there and busy preparing the place for my ar 
rival. 

The faithful musician P. Gast is going to join our 



Siegfried Lipiner, one of Nietzsche s admirers, had sent 
Nietzsche his own poem. Translator. 



114 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

household, and is going to undertake the duties of a 
friendly amanuensis. 

I am rather dreading the coming winter. Things 
must change. The man who only has a few moments 
a day for what he regards as most important, and who 
has to spend the rest of his time and energy perform 
ing duties which others could carry out equally well 
such a man is not a harmonious whole ; he must be 
in conflict with himself and must ultimately fall ill. 
If I exercise any influence over youth at all, I owe 
it to my writings, and for these I have to thank my 
leisure moments yes, the intervals I have won for 
myself, in the midst of professional duties by means 
of illness. Well, things must change : si male nunc non 
olim sic erit. 1 Meanwhile may the happiness of my 
friends increase and flourish. It is always a great 
solace to me to think of you, my dear friend (just now 
I have a vision of you on the bank of a lake sur 
rounded by roses and with a beautiful white swan 
swimming towards you) . 

With brotherly affection, 

Yours 
F. 

To MADAME LOUISE O. 

Eosenlauibad, August 29, 1877. 
DEAR FRIEND : 

I shall not forsake my mountain loneliness without 
once more writing to tell you how fond I am of you. 
How superfluous it is to say this, or to write it, isn t 



" If things are bad today, at some future time they will be 
better." Translator. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 115 

it? But my affection for anyone sticks to them like 
a thorn, and at times is as troublesome as a thorn ; it 
is not so easy to get rid of it. So be good enough to 
receive this small, superfluous, and troublesome let 
ter. 

I have been told that well, that you are expecting, 
hoping, wishing. I deeply sympathized with you when 
I heard the news, and, believe me, your wishes are 
mine. A fresh, good, and beautiful human being on 
earth ! that is something, it is a great deal ! As you 
absolutely refuse to immortalize yourself in novels, 
you do so in this way. And we must all feel most 
grateful to you (more particularly as I hear it is a 
much more trying affair even than the writing of 
novels). 

A day or two ago, quite suddenly, I saw your eyes 
in the dark. Why does no one ever look at me with 
such eyes? I exclaimed irritably. Oh, it is ghastly! 

Do you know that no woman s voice has ever made 
a deep impression on me, although I have met all 
kinds of famous women? But I firmly believe there 
is a voice for me somewhere on earth, and I am seek 
ing it. Where on earth is it? 

Fare you well. May all the good fairies be con 
stantly about you. 

Your devoted friend, 

FBIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 

To SEYDLITZ. 
MY DEAR FRIEND : Bale, January 4, 1878. 

. . . Yesterday Wagner sent me his Parsifal. 
My impression after the first perusal was that it is 



116 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

more Liszt than Wagner; it is in the spirit of the 
Counter-Reformation. To me, accustomed as I am to 
the Greek and generally human concept of things, it 
is all too Christian, too limited in its duration. It is 
one mass of fantastic psychology, has no flesh and too 
much blood (especially at the Last Supper, which was 
far too full-blooded for my taste.) And then I can 
not abide hysterical females. Much that can be tol 
erated by the inner eye will scarcely be endured when 
it is produced on the stage. Imagine our actors pray 
ing and quivering with distorted necks! Even the 
inside of the Gralsberg cannot be effective on the 
stage, and the same applies to the wounded swan. 
All these beautiful devices belong to the epic and are, 
as I have said, for the inner eye of the imagination. 
The German sounds as if it were a translation from 
a foreign tongue. But as for the situations and their 
succession are they not in the highest sense poetical? 
Do they not constitute a last challenge to music? 

Please be content with this for to-day, and with 
kindest regards to your dear wife and yourself, 
I am, yours affectionately, NIETZSCHE. 

NIETZSCHE TO MALVIDA VON MEYSENBUG. 

Bale, June 11, 1878. 

Who was it who thought of me on May 30 ?* I re 
ceived two very fine letters (from Gast and Ree) and 



a Note by Frau F. Nietzsche: "Strange to say, a bust of 
Voltaire reached my brother on May 30, accompanied by this 
anonymous note: U&me de Voltaire fait ses compliments a 
Frederic Nietzsche. At that time the identity of the sender 
was an insoluble mystery; but in later years it struck me that 
it might have been that excellent young man Gersdorff." 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 117 

then something still finer: I was quite moved the 
fate of the man about whom for the last hundred 
years there have existed only party prejudices loomed 
as a terrible symbol before my eyes. Towards the 
emancipators of the spirit mankind is most irrecon 
cilable in its hate, and most unjust in its love. Al 
beit I shall go on my way in peace, and renounce 
everything that might stand in my way. This is the 
decisive element in life: were I not conscious of the 
superlative fruitfulness of my new philosophy, I 
should certainly feel frightfully isolated and alone. 
But I am Sit one with myself. 

Your heartily devoted friend, 

F. N. 



NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Bale, March 1, 1879. 
DEAR, KIND, HELPFUL FRIEND : 

There is now only one thing left to be done, and 
that is to try to get well in Venice I 1 My condition 
has again been simply appalling, next door to intol 
erable. "Am I fit to travel?" The question I kept 
asking myself was whether I should be alive by then. 

Provisional programme : 

On Tuesday evening, March 25, at about 7.45 I 
shall reach Venice, and there you will take me on 
board. Is that right? You will hire a private apart- 

This is a reference to Peter Cast s constant assurance that 
Venice would prove beneficial to Nietzsche s health. Trans 
lator. 



118 SELECTED LETTEKS OF 

merit for me (a room with a nice warm bed) which 
must be peaceful. If possible secure a terrace or flat 
roof, either at your lodgings or mine, where you and 
I will be able to sit out together, etc. 

I do not wish to see any sights, except by accident. 
All I want to do is to sit on the Piazza San Marco in 
the sunshine and listen to the military band. I always 
attend Mass at San Marco on fete days. I shall si 
lently roam about the public gardens. 

I want to eat good figs and oysters, too, and follow 
the example of the man of experience yowrself. I 
shall take no meals at the hotel. 

I require the utmost calm. I shall bring a few 
books with me. Warm baths are to be had at Bar- 
bese (I have the address). 

You will receive the first complete copy of the book. 
Bead it right through again so that in it you may rec 
ognize yourself as retouchewr (as well as myself; for, 
after all, I too, went to some pains in producing it) . 

Good Heavens! it is perhaps my last production. 
To my mind it is full of intrepid repose. 

If you only knew how well and with what gratitude 
I always speak of you! And what hopes I cherish 
about you! 

Now, for a while, be my good shepherd and medical 
adviser in Venice. But it pains me to think that I am 
once more going to give you a lot of trouble. I prom 
ise you, though, that I shall take up as little of your 
time as possible. 

With hearty thanks, I am your friend, 

NIETZSCHE, 



FBIEDBICH NIETZSCHE 119 

NIETZSCHE To His MOTHER AND SISTER. 

Bale, April 25, 1879. 

Since my last card things have gone from bad to 
worse, in Geneva as in Bale, whither I returned last 
Monday. I had attack after attack both there and 
here. Until now I have been quite unable to give 
lectures. Yesterday Schiess informed me that my 
eyesight had deteriorated considerably since he last 
examined it. 

Your letters, full of news and encouragement, 
reached me while I was still in Geneva. My heartiest 
thanks ! 

F. 1 

NIETZSCHE TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE EDUCATIONAL 

COUNCIL. 

Bale, May 2, 1879. 
DEAR SIR : 

The state of my health, which has forced me to ad 
dress so many appeals to you in the past, now urges 
me to take this last step and beg you to be so good as 
to allow me to resign the post of Professor at the 
University which I have held hitherto. All this time 
my headaches have increased so much that they are 
now scarcely endurable; there is also the increasing 
loss of time occasioned by my attacks of illness which 
last from two to six days, while I have once more been 

Note by Frau F.N.: "In the early part of May I re 
ceived a letter from Overbeck begging me on my brother s 
behalf to go to him immediately, as he wished to leave Bale 
for good. I found that he had changed extraordinarily since 
his stay with us the previous autumn, the chief cause of this 
being the very poor food he ate as a cure. We went together 
to Schloss Bremgarten near Berne." 



120 SELECTED LETTERS OP 

told by Herr Schiess that my eyesight has again de 
teriorated so much so that at present I am scarcely 
able to read or write for twenty minutes at a time 
without pain. All these considerations force me to 
recognize that I am no longer fit for my academic 
duties nay, that I am no longer equal to them and 
this after having been obliged during the last few 
years to allow myself, always much to my regret, 
many an irregularity in the discharge of these duties. 
It would redound to the disadvantage of our Univer 
sity, and to the philological studies pursued therein, 
were I any longer to fill a post for which I have ceased 
to be suited. Nor can I say that I can any longer 
entertain any hope of improvement in the state of 
my head, which seems to have become chronically 
bad ; as for years I have made attempt after .attempt 
to get rid of the trouble, and have led the .most se 
verely ordered life, undergoing privations of all kinds 
all in vain ! This I am bound to admit to-day, at 
a time when I have ceased to believe that I shall be 
able to resist my suffering much longer. I have no 
other alternative therefore than, in accordance with 
paragraph 20 of the University Statutes, with deep 
regret to express the desire to be released from jnj 
duties, and also tender my thanks to the University 
authorities for the many signs of kind indulgence 
they have shown me from the first hour of my appoint 
ment to the present day. 

Begging you, Sir, kindly to convey my desire to 
the Board, I am and remain, 

Your obedient servant, 

DR. FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, Prof. o. p. 



FEIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 121 

NIETZSCHE TO His PUBLISHER. 

Bale, Beginning of May, 1879. 
DEAR SIR : 

I have resigned my professorship and am going into 
the mountains. I am on the verge of desperation and 
have scarcely any hope left. My sufferings have been 
too great, too persistent. 

A HALF-BLIND MAN. 

RULING OF THE GOVERNING BODY OF BALE UNIVERSITY. 

June 14, 1879. 

Professor Dr. Friedrich Nietzsche is to be given 
leave to resign his post on June 30, 1879, with the 
deep thanks of the Governing Board for his excellent 
services, together with the grant of a yearly pension 
of 1,000 francs for the period of six years. 

N. B. The Governors have decided to allow him in 
addition for a period of six years a yearly pension 
of 1,000 francs from the Hensler Fund, while the 
Academic Society has, in the name of a few friends, 
guaranteed an additional allowance of from 500 to 
1,000 francs for the same period of time. 1 



Note by Frau F.N. : "My brother received this pension 
which in all amounted to 3,000 francs per annum from July, 
1879, to January, 1889. From that date the grant of 1,000 
francs per 1 annum from the Governing Board ceased, so that he 
received only the 1,000 francs from the Hensler fund and 1,000 
francs from the Academic Society. As on various occasions 
Professor Overbeck had hinted that the payment of these 2,000 
francs was considered a burden at Bale, and my brother had 
felt uneasy about the matter from the very beginning, directly 
after our mother s death at Easter, 1897, I begged my sick 
brother s newly constituted body of guardians to write thanking 
the authorities at Bale for their past kindness, and begging 
them to discontinue it, as I wished to take sole responsibility 
for the dear invalid." 



122 SELECTED LETTEKS OF 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 
Address, St. Moriz-Dorf, Poste Restante. 

September 11, 1879. 
DEAR, DEAR FRIEND : 

When you read these lines my MS. will already have 
reached you ; it may deliver its own request to you ; I 
have not the courage to do so. But you must share 
a few of the moments of joy that I now feel over my 
completed work. I am at the end of my thirty-fifth 
year "the middle of life," as people for a century 
and a half used to say of this age. It was at this age 
that Dante had his vision, and in the opening lines 
of his poem he mentions the fact. Now I am in. the 
middle of life and so "encircled by death" that at 
any minute it can lay hold of me. From the nature 
of my sufferings I must reckon upon a sudden death 
through convulsions (although I should prefer a hun 
dred times a slow, lucid death, before which I should 
be able to converse with my friends, even if it were 
more painful). In this way I feel like the oldest of 
men, even from the standpoint of having completed 
my life- task. I have poured out a salutary drop of 
oil; this I know, and I shall not be forgotten for it. 
At bottom I have already undergone the test of my 
own view of life : many more will have to undergo it 
after me. Up to the present my spirit has not been 
depressed by the unremitting suffering that my ail 
ments have caused me; at times I even feel more 
cheerful and more benevolent than I ever felt in my 
life before; to what do I owe this invigorating and 
ameliorating effect? Certainly not to my fellow men ; 
for, with but few exceptions, they have all during 



FBI ED RICH NIETZSCHE 123 

the last few years shown themselves "offended" by 
me; 1 nor have they shrunk from letting me know it. 
Just read this last MS. through, my dear friend, and 
ask yourself whether there are any traces of suffering 
or depression to be found in it. / don t believe there 
are, and this very belief is a sign that there must be 
powers concealed in these views, and not the proofs 
of impotence and lassitude after which my enemies 
will seek. 

Now I shall not rest until I have sent those pages, 
transcribed by my self-sacrificing friend and revised 
by me, to my printers in Chemnitz. I shall not come 
to you myself however urgently the Overbecks and 
my sister may press me to do so; there are states in 
which it seems to me more fitting to return to the 
neighbourhood of one s mother, one s home, and the 
memories of one s childhood. But do not take all this 
as final and irrevocable. According as his hopes rise 
or fall, an invalid should be allowed to make or un 
make his plans. My programme for the summer is 
complete: three weeks at a moderate altitude (in 
Wiesen), three months in the Engadine, and the last 
month in taking the real St. Moritz drink-cure, the 
best effect of which is not supposed to be felt before 
the winter. This working out of a programme was a 
pleasure to me, but it was not easy! Self-denial in 
everything (I had no friends, no company; I could 
read no books; all art was far removed from me; a 
small bedroom with a bed, the food of an ascetic 
which by the bye suited me excellently, for I have had 

J See Matthew, xxvi, 28. 



124 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

no indigestion the whole of the summer) this self-de 
nial was complete except for one point I gave my 
self up to my thoughts what else could I do! Of 
course, this was the very worst thing for my head, but 
I still do not see how I could have avoided it. But 
enough ; this winter my programme will be to recover 
from myself, to rest myself away from my thoughts 
for years I have not had this experience. Perhaps 
in Naumburg I shall be able so to arrange my day as 
to profit by this repose. But first of all the "sequel" 
The Wanderer and his Shadow! 

Your last letter full of ideas pleased Overbeck and 
me so much that I allowed him to take it with him 
to Zurich to read to his womenfolk there. Forgive 
me for having done this. And forgive me for more 

important things ! 

Your friend, 

N. 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Naumburg, October 5, 1879. 
DEAR FRIEND : 

Yesterday morning I posted my card to you; and 
three hours later I received fresh proof of your inde 
fatigable kindness towards me. If only I could ful 
fill your wishes! "But thoughts are too remote/ as 
Tieck sings. You would scarcely believe how faith 
fully I have carried out the programme of thought 
lessness ; and I have reasons for being faithful in this 
respect; for "behind thought stands the devil" 1 of a 



J This is a playful variation of the Spanish proverb: 
Detras de la Cruz estd el diablo." Translator. 



FEIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 125 

frantic attack of pain. The MS. that reached you at 
St. Moritz was produced at such a very heavy price 
that probably no one who could have helped it would 
ever have written it at such cost. I am now often 
filled with horror when reading my own MSS., es 
pecially the more lengthy portions owing to the odious 
memories they awaken. The whole of it, with the 
exception of a few lines, was thought out while walk 
ing and scribbled down in pencil in six small note 
books ; almost every time I tried to re- write a passage, 
I failed. I was forced to omit about twenty some 
what lengthy lines of thought. Unfortunately they 
were most important; but I had not the time to de 
cipher my most illegible pencil scrawl. The same 
thing happened to me last summer. I cannot after 
wards recall the slender connection of thought. For, 
in order to steal away those minutes and quarters 
of an hour of "cerebral energy" of which you speak, 
I have to rob them from a suffering brain. At pres 
ent I feel as if I could never do it again. I read your 
transcript, and have all the difficulty in the world in 
understanding myself my head is so tired. 

The Sorrento MS. has gone to the deuce; my re 
moval and final farewell to Bale made many a radical 
change in my affairs and it was a good thing for me, 
because old MSS. such as those always frown at me 
like debtors. 

Dear friend, as to Luther, it is a long time since I 
have been able with honesty to say anything to his 
credit ; this is the outcome of a mass of material about 
him to which Jacob Burckhardt called my attention. 
I refer to Janssen s "History of the German People" 



126 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

(Vol. II) that appeared this year (I have it). The 
voice in this book is, for once, not that of a Protestant 
falsification of history, which is the one we have been 
taught to believe. At present, the fact that we prefer 
Luther as a man to Ignatius Loyola strikes me as 
being no more than our national taste in north and 
south! That odious, arrogant, and biliously-envious 
diabolical wrangling affected by Luther who was 
never happy unless he was able to spit on some one 
in his wrath nauseated me beyond endurance. Cer 
tainly you are right when you speak of "the promo 
tion of European democratization" through Luther, 
but this raving enemy of the peasant (who ordered 
them to be slaughtered like mad dogs, and himself 
assured the princes that the kingdom of Heaven could 
be won by the killing and strangling of peasant cat 
tle) was certainly one of its most unwilling promo 
ters. Yours is, by-the-bye, the fairer attitude towards 
the man. But just give me time! Many thanks to 
you also for the other lacunae you pointed out to me. 
This is most impotent gratitude, I m afraid. Here 
again my "wish of wishes" occurs to me. Well, I have 
been thinking lately of my friend Gast, not actually 
as an author there are so many ways of testifying 
to an inward condition of maturity and health at 
tained. In the first place of you as an artist ! After 
Aeschylus came Sophocles! I would rather not tell 
you more plainly what I hope. And now for a word 
of truth about you as a creature of brains and heart : 
what a start you have of me, making allowance for the 
difference of years, and that which years bring with 
them! Once more let me tell you a home-truth: I 



FKIEDEICH NIETZSCHE 127 

consider you a better and more gifted man than I am, 
and consequently a man with greater obligations. . . . 
With sincere affection, 
Your friend whose hopes are in you, 

N. 



NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Marienbad, July 18, 1880. 
MY DEAR FRIEND : 

I still cannot help thinking several times a day of 
the delightful pampering I had in Venice and of the 
still more delightful pamperer, and all I can say is 
that one cannot have such good times for long and 
that it is only right I should once more be an ancho 
rite and as such go walking for ten hours a day, drink 
fateful doses of water and await their effect. Mean 
while I burrow eagerly inside my moral mines and at 
times feel quite subterranean in the process at pres 
ent I seem to feel as if I had now discovered the prin 
cipal artery and outlet. But this is the sort of belief 
that may return a hundred times only to be rejected. 
Now and again an echo of Chopin s music rings in my 
ears, and this much you have achieved, that at such 
moments I always think of you and lose myself in 
meditating about possibilities. My trust in you has 
grown very great; you are built much more soundly 
than I suspected, and apart from the evil influence 
that Herr Nietzsche has exercised over you from time 
to time, you are in every respect well conditioned. 
Ceterum censeo mountains and woods are better than 
towns and Paris is better than Vienna. 



128 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

On the way I made friends with a high dignitary 
of the Church, who was apparently one of the earliest 
promoters of old Catholic music; he was up to every 
question of detail. I found he was much interested 
in the work Wagner did in regard to Palestrina s mu 
sic. He said that dramatic recitative (in the liturgy) 
was the core of Church music, and accordingly wished 
the interpretation of such music to be as dramatic 
as possible. In his opinion Regensburg was the only 
place on earth where old music could be studied and 
above all heard (particularly in Passion week). 

Have you heard about the fire at MommsenV house 
and that his notes have all been destroyed perhaps 
the most extensive collection of documents ever made 
by a living scholar? It appears that he dashed into 
the flames again and again, and that at last, covered 
with burns as he was, they were obliged to restrain 
him by force. Such tasks as the one Mommsen had 
undertaken must be very rare; for the colossal mem 
ory and corresponding acumen in criticism and ar 
rangement necessary for dealing with such a mass of 
material are seldom united in one man ; they are more 
often in conflict. When I heard of the affair my heart 
was in my mouth with horror, and even now I feel 
genuine physical anguish when I think of it. Is that 
pity? But what is Mommsen to me? I am in no 
way favorably inclined towards him. 

Here in the lonely sylvan hermitage of which I 
am the hermit, there has been a good deal of trouble 



a Note by Peter Gast Fires seem to have marked out 
Roman historians as their particular victims. Niebuhr lost the 
second volume of his Roman History in a fire which occurred 
Feb. 6th, 1830. 



FKIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 129 

ever since yesterday. I do not know exactly what has 
happened, but the shadow of a crime seems to lie on 
the house. Someone buried something ; others discov 
ered it ; a good deal of lamentation was heard ; a num 
ber of gendarmes appeared on the scene ; the house was 
searched and during the night in the room next door 
to mine I heard someone sighing heavily, as if in 
great pain, and I could not sleep. Then in the middle 
of the night I heard sounds as if something were 
being buried in the wood, but whoever was engaged 
in the work was surprised, and once more there were 
tears and cries. An official told me that it was a 
"banknote" affair I am not sufficiently inquisitive to 
know as much about my surroundings as all the world 
probably knows about me. Suffice it to say that the 
solitude of the woods is uncanny. 

I have been reading a story by Merimee, in which 
Henry Beyle s character is said to be described. It 
is called "The Etruscan Vase" ; if this is true, Stend 
hal is St. Clair. The whole thing is ironical, distin 
guished and deeply melancholic. 

In conclusion listen to an idea I have had: one 
ceases from loving oneself properly when one ceases 
from exercising oneself in love towards others, where 
fore the latter (the ceasing from exercising, etc.) 
ought to be strongly deprecated. (This is from my 
own experience.) 

Fare you well, my beloved and much valued friend. 
May things go well with you night and day. 

Your devoted, 

F. N. 



130 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Marienbad, August 20, 1880. 
MY DEAR FRIEND GAST : 

Your letter chimed in with my harvest-, or rather 
harvest-festival mood, a little dismally, it is true, but 
so well and powerfully that to-day I once more, as 
usual, end my meditations about you with the chorale 

"What Cast achieved is well achieved, 
For just are his intentions. Amen." 1 

You are built of stouter material than I am and you 
are entitled to set yourself higher ideals. For my 
part I suffer terribly when I lack sympathy ; nothing 
can compensate me, for instance, for the fact that 
for the last few years I have lost Wagner s friendly 
interest in my fate. How often do I not dream of 
him, and always in the spirit of our former intimate 
companionship ! No words of anger have ever passed 
between us, not even in my dreams on the contrary, 
only words of encouragement and good cheer, and with 
no one have I ever laughed so much as with him. All 
this is now a thing of the past and what does it 
avail that in many respects I am right and he is 
wrong? As if our lost friendship could be forgotten 
on that account! And to think that I had already 
suffered similar experiences before, and am likely 
to suffer them again! They constitute the cruellest 
sacrifices that my path in life and thought has ex 
acted from me and even now the whole of my phi 
losophy totters after one hour s sympathetic inter 
course even with total strangers! It seems to me so 



*An old German hymn: "What God achieves, is well 
achieved," etc. Translator. 



FRIED RICH NIETZSCHE 131 

foolish to insist on being in the right at the expense 
of love, and not to be able to impart one s best for 
fear of destroying sympathy. Einc meae lacrimae. 1 

I am still in Marienbad: the "Austrian weather" 
held me fast to the spot ! Fancy, it has rained every 
day since July 24, and sometimes the whole day long. 
A rainy sky and rainy atmosphere, but fine walks 
in the woods. My health lost ground withal; but, 
in summa I was well satisfied with Venice and Marien 
bad. Certainly, never has so much been thought out 
here since the days of Goethe, 2 and even Goethe can 
not have let so many fundamental things pass through 
his head I surpassed myself by a long way. Once 
in the wood a man stared fixedly at me as he passed 
me by, and at that moment I felt that my expression 
must have been one of radiant joy, and that I had 
already worn it for two hours. Like the most modest 
of the visitors here, I live incognito; in the visitors 
list I appear as "Schoolmaster Nietzsche/ There are 
a great many Poles here, and, strange to say, they 
insist upon it that I must be a Pole; they actually 
come up to me to greet me in the Polish tongue, and 
will not believe me when I tell them that I am a 
Swiss. "Your race is Polish, but your heart has 
turned Heaven knows whither" thus did one of them 
mournfully take leave of me. 

Your devoted, 

F. N. 



my tears. Translator. 
Goethe frequently visited Marienbad. 



132 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

To HERR OB. REG. R. KRUG. 

Genoa, November 16, 1880. 
MY DEAR GUSTAV : 

Here in Genoa I received the news of your bereave 
ment, and I am just writing a few lines in haste and 
unprepared, as the circumstances of travel permit. 
But you must regard them more as a sign than an ex 
pression of sympathy. By-the-bye, I see from the cal 
endar that it is also your birthday. With what wist 
ful eyes you will look back upon your life to-day. We 
grow older and therefore lonelier ; the love that leaves 
us is precisely that love which was lavished upon us 
like an unconscious necessity not owing to our par 
ticular qualities, but often in spite of them. The cur 
tain falls on our past when our mother dies ; it is then 
for the first time that our childhood and youth be 
come nothing more than a memory. And then the 
same process extends; the friends of our youth, our 
teachers, our ideals of those days, all die, and every 
day we grow more lonely, and ever colder breezes blow 
about us. You were right to plant another garden of 
love around you, dear friend! I should think that 
to-day you are particularly grateful for your lot. 
Moreover you have remained true to your art, and it 
was with the deepest satisfaction that I heard all you 
had to tell me on that score. A period may be dawn 
ing which may be better suited to my constitution 
than the present one a period in which we shall once 
again sit side by side and see the past rise up afresh 
out of your music, just as in our youth we used to 
dream together of our future in the music we both 
loved. 



FRIED RICH NIETZSCHE 133 

I may not say more. My ailments ( which still con 
tinue, as in the past, to have their own daily history) 
have laid their tyrannical hand upon me. Whenever 
you think of me (as you did for instance on my birth 
day, which, this year, I had completely forgotten), 
please believe that I do not lack either courage or 
patience, and that, even as things are at present, I 
aspire to high, very high goals. You may also be 
lieve with equal certainty that I am and remain your 
friend, 

With sincere affection and devotion, 

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 

To ROHDE. 

Genoa, March 24, 1881. 

Thus the sands of life run out and the best of friends 
hear and see nothing of each other ! Aye, the trick is 
no easy one to live and yet not to be discontented. 
How often do I not feel as if I should like to beg a 
loan from my robust, flourishing and brave old friend 
Rohde, when I am in sore need of a "transfusion" of 
strength, not of lamb s 1 but of lion s blood. But there 
he dwells away in Tubingen, immersed in books and 
married life, and in every respect inaccessible to me. 
Ah, dear friend, to live for ever on my own fat seems 
to be my lot, or, as every one knows who has tried it, 
to drink my own blood ! Life then becomes a matter 
of not losing one s thirst for oneself and also of not 
drinking oneself dry. 



*At about this time the transfusion of lamb s blood had be 
come fashionable in medicine, only to be dropped shortly after 
wards. Translator. 



134 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

On the whole, however, I am, to tell the truth, as 
tonished at the number of springs a man can set flow 
ing in himself even a man like myself who am not 
one of the richest. I believe that if I possessed all 
the qualities in which you excel me I should be puffed 
up with pride and insufferable. Even now there are 
moments when I wander over the heights above Genoa 
here with glances and hopes like those which dear 
old Columbus may perhaps have cast from this very 
spot out over the sea and the whole of the future. 
Well, it is with these moments of courage and of 
foolishness too, perhaps, that I have to adjust the 
equilibrium of my life s vessel for you have no idea 
how many daj s, and how many hours, even on en 
durable days, I have to overcome, to say the least^ 

As far as it is possible to alleviate and mitigate a 
bad state of health by means of wise living I think 
I probably do all that can be done in my case in that 
respect I am neither thoughtless nor devoid of ideas. 
But I wish no one the lot to which I am growing 
accustomed, because I am beginning to understand 
that I am equal to it. 

But you, my dear good friend, are not in such a 
tight corner as to be forced to grow thin in order to 
squeeze out of it; neither is Overbeck. You both do 
your good work and, without saying overmuch about 
it, perhaps without even being conscious of it, derive 
all that is good from the midday of life with some 
sweat of your brow, too, I suppose. How glad I 
should be to have a word or two from you about your 
plans, your great plans for with a head and a heart 
like yours, behind all the daily routine of work, petty 



F R I E D R I C II N I E T Z S C II E 135 

enough perhaps, a man always carries something 
bulky and very big about with him how happy you 
would make me if you held me not unworthy of such 
confidence! Friends like yourself must help me to 
sustain my belief in myself, and this you do when 
you confide in me about your highest aims and hopes. 
Beneath these words does there lurk the request for 
a letter from you? Well, yes ? dearest friend, I should 
rejoice at receiving something really personal from 
you once more if only not always to have the Rohde 
of the past in my heart, but also the Rohde of the 
present and, what is more, the Rohde who is develop 
ing and willing yes, the Rohde of the future. 

Affectionately yours, 
N. 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER OAST. 

Genoa, 10-4-81. 

When I read your letter yesterday "my heart 
leaped" as the hymn says it would have been quite 
impossible, at the present moment, to have given me 
more pleasant news! (The book, for which I have 
gradually developed quite a decent appetite, will cer 
tainly be in my hands to-day.) Very well, so be it! 
We two shall once more come together upon this ledge 
of life commanding such a vast prospect, and we shall 
be able to look backwards and forwards together and 
hold each other s hand the while to show how many, 
many good things we have in common many more 
than words can tell. You can scarcely imagine how 
exhilarating the prospect of this meeting is to me 
for a man alone with his thoughts passes for a fool, 



136 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

and often enough seems a fool to himself into the bar 
gain; when two come together, however, "wisdom" 
begins, as well as trust, courage, and mental health. 
Fare thee well ! With my best thanks, 

Your friend, 

F. N. 

NIETZSCHE TO His SISTER. 

Recoaro, June 19, 1881. 

Oh, mv darling sister, you imagine that it is all 
about a book? Do you too still think that I am an 
author! My hour is at hand! I should like to spare 
you all this; for surely you cannot bear my burden 
(it is enougli of a fatality to be so closely related to 
me) . I should like you to be able to say with a clean 
conscience, to each and everyone, "I do not know my 
brothers latest views." (People will be only too 
ready to acquaint you with the fact that they are "im 
moral" and "shameless".) Meanwhile, courage and 
pluck; to each his appointed task, and the same old 
love! 

YOUR F. 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Sils-Maria, August 14, 1881. 

Well, my dear friend ! The August sun is above us, 
the year is slipping by, the hills and the w r oods are 
growing more calm and more peaceful. Thoughts 
have loomed upon my horizon the like of which I have 
not known before I shall not divulge anything about 
them, but shall remain imperturbably calm. I shall 
have to live a few years longer ! Ah, my friend, some- 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 137 

times I have a feeling that I am leading a most dan 
gerous life, for I belong to the kind of machine that 
can fly to pieces. The intensity of my feelings makes 
me shudder and laugh once or twice already I have 
been unable to leave my room for the absurd reason 
that my eyes were inflamed by what? On each oc 
casion I had. wept too much on my wanderings the 
day before and not sentimental tears by any means, 
but tears of joy and exaltation. At such moments I 
sang and uttered nonsense, filled with a new vision 
which I had seen in advance of the rest of mankind. 

After all if I could not draw my strength from 
myself; if I had to wait for words of good cheer, 
of encouragement, and of comfort from outside, where 
should I be, what should I be ! There have indeed 
been moments nay, whole periods in my life (the 
year 1878, for instance) when I should have re 
garded a strong cheering word, a sympathetic hand 
shake, as the comfort of comforts and it was pre 
cisely then that every one on wham I thought I could 
rely, and who could have done me this act of kind 
ness, left me in the lurch. Now I no longer expect 
it, and all I feel is a certain gloomy astonishment 
when, for instance, I think of the letters that reach 
me nowadays they are all so insignificant! No one 
seems to have gained the smallest experience through 
me, or to have thought about me all that people say 
to me is decent and benevolent, but so far, far away. 
Even our dear old Jacob Burchkardt wrote me a faint 
hearted little letter of this sort. 

On the other hand I regard it as my reward that 
this year has shown me two things that belong to 



138 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

me and that are intimately related to me I refer 
to your music and the landscape before me. This is 
neither Switzerland nor Recoaro, but something quite 
different; in any case something much more south 
ern I should have to go to the Mexican plateau on 
the calm ocean, to find anything like it (Oaxaca, for 
instance) ; and then, of course, it would be covered 
with tropical vegetation. Well, I shall try to keep 
this Sils-Maria for myself. And I feel just the same 
about your music, but I am quite at a loss to know 
how to catch hold of it! I have been obliged to rule 
the reading of music and the playing of the piano out 
of my occupations once and for all. I have been 
thinking of buying a typewriter and am now in cor 
respondence with the inventor, a Dane of Copenhagen. 
What are you going to do next winter? I suppose 
you will be in Vienna. But we must try to arrange 
a meeting for the following winter, if only a short one 
for now I am well aware that I am not fit to be 
your companion, and that your spirit is more free 
and more fruitful when I have vanished from your 
side. On the other hand, the ever-increasing emanci 
pation of your feelings and your acquisition of a deep 
and proud understanding, in snmma your joyful, most 
joyful industry and development, means so indescrib 
ably much to me, that I would readily adapt myself 
to any situation created by the needs of your nature. 
Never do I have any unpleasant feelings about you 
of this you may be quite sure, dear friend! . . . 

With hearty affection and gratitude, 

YOUR F. N. 

(I have often been ill of late.) 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 139 

NIETZSCHE TO His MOTHER. 
MY DEAR MOTHER : Sils-Maria, August 24, 1881. 

. . . I am very well satisfied with my food : Mid 
day (11.30 a. m.) every day a dish of meat with ma 
caroni; morning (6.30 a. m.) the yolk of a raw egg, 
tea, and aniseed biscuit (bucolic and nourishing). 
Evening (6.30 p. m.), the yolks of two raw eggs, a 
piece of Polenta 1 (as it is eaten by all shepherds and 
peasants), tea (second infusion) and aniseed biscuit. 
(In Genoa I live much more in conformity with the 
customs of the inhabitants, in fact as the work people 
live.) Every morning at 5, general ablutions in cold 
water, and 5 to 7 hours exercise every day. Between 
7 and 9 in the evening I sit still in the dark ( I also 
did this at Genoa, where, without exception, I stayed 
at home every evening from 6 in the evening onwards ; 
never went to a theatre or a concert). You cannot 
imagine with what miserly care I have to husband 
my intellectual strength and my time, in order that 
such a suffering and imperfect creature may yet be 
able to bear ripe fruit. [" Do not think ill of me for 
leading this difficult sort of life; every hour of the 
day I have to be hard towards myself^ 

With love, YouE R 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Sils-Maria, end of August, 1881. 
But this is splendid news, my dear friend ! Above 
all that you should have finished! At the thought of 

*A national dish of Italy. It is made with maize flour. 
Translator. 



140 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

this first great achievement of your life, I feel inde 
scribably happy and solemn; I shall not fail to re 
member August 24, 1881 ! How things are progress 
ing ! But as soon as I think of your work I am over 
come by a feeling of satisfaction and a sort of emo 
tion which I never experience in connection with my 
own " works. (jhere is something in these that al 
ways fills me with a sense of shame ; they are counter 
feits of a suffering, imperfect nature, but inadequately 
equipped with the most essential organs to myself, I, 
as a whole, often seem little more than the scratching 
upon a piece of paper made by an unknown power 
with the object of trying a new pen?) (Our friend 
Schmeitzner has understood very well how to make 
me feel this, for in every one of his letters of late 
he has laid stress on the fact that "my readers do 
not wish to read any more of my aphorisms.")^ As 
for you, my dear friend, you were not intended to be 
such a creature of aphorisms ; }-our aim is a lofty one ; 
unlike me you do not feel obliged to let people guess 
at the interdependence and at the need of interdepen 
dence in your work.") Your mission it is once more 
to make known the higher laws of style in your art 
those laws the setting aside of which the weakness 
of modern artists has elevated almost to a principle : 
your mission it is to reveal your art once more quite 
complete! This is what I feel when I think of you, 
and in this prospect I seem to enjoy the fullest bloom 
of my own nature as in a mirage. You alone have 
afforded me this joy up to the present, and it is only 
since I learnt to know your music that this has been 
so between us. 



FRIED RICH NIETZSCHE 141 

And now for the second piece of news: Vienna is 
coming to Venice and the mountain to Mohammed! 
What a weight this takes off my mind! Now I see 
quite clearly the course things will take, your first 
ceremonious introduction I presume you will have 
the courage to make known to the world your new 
will in aesthetics by means of one or two eloquent 
essays, and thus obviate misunderstanding concerning 
the only admissible interpretation of your work. Do 
not be afraid of confessing yourself vowed to the 
loftiest motives! Men like yourself must cast their 
words ahead and must know how to orcrtakc them by 
their deeds (even I have allowed myself to act on 
this principle until now). Avail yourself of all those 
liberties which are still granted to the artist alone, and 
do not fail to remember that our task is in all cir 
cumstances to urge people on, to iirnc them hence 
almost irrespective of whether we ourselves get there ! 
(To my surprise I often find the cxliortatio indirecta 
in my last book 1 ; for instance in the 542nd Aphorism 
"The Philosopher and Old Age 1 the direct form of 
exhortation and instigation, on the other hand, sa 
vours somewhat of priggishness.) 

So much for to-day it is not at all necessary for 
you to answer this, dear friend. When we meet again 
you will play me some of your music as an answer 
(during the last few months it has percolated right 
into my heart, and, honestly, I know nothing I would 
like to hear better . . . ) . 

Your friend, NIETZSCHE. 

This refers to the "Dawn of Day" (Vol. 9 of the English 
Authorized Edition). 



142 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Genoa, November 28, 1881. 

Hurrah ! Friend ! I have made the acquaintance of 
one more good thing, an opera by Georges Bizet (who 
is he?) : Carmen. It sounded like a story by Meri- 
mee ; ingenious, strong, and here and there staggering. 
A real French talent for comic opera, absolutely un- 
corrupted by Wagner, on the other hand a true pupil 
of Hector Berlioz. I thought something of the kind 
might be possible. It looks as if the French were on 
the road to better things in dramatic music; and they 
are far ahead of the Germans in one important point ; 
passion with them is not such a very far-fetched af 
fair (as all passion is in Wagner s works). 

To-day I am not very well, but that is owing to bad 
weather and not to the music ; maybe I should be even 
worse than I am if I had not heard it. Good things 
are my medicine. Hence my love of you ! 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Genoa, December 5, 1881. 
DEAR GOOD FRIEND : 

From time to time (how is this?) it is almost a 
need for me to hear something general and absolute 
about Wagner, and I like to hear it best of all from 
you! To feel alike about Chamfort too ought to be 
a point of honour for us both ; he was a man of the 
stamp of Mirabeau in character, heart, and magnani 
mity ; this was Mirabeau s own opinion of his friend. 

It was a great blow to me to hear that Bizet is 
dead. I have heard "Carmen" for the second time 
and once more I had the impression of a first-class 



FBIEDKICH NIETZSCHE 143 

story by Merimee, for instance. Such a passionate 
and fascinating soul! In my opinion this work is 
worth a whole journey to Spain a southern work in 
the highest degree ! Do not laugh, old friend, I do not 
so easily make an utter mistake in "taste." 

With hearty gratitude, yours, 

N. 

Meanwhile I have been very ill, but am well, thanks 
to Carmen. 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Genoa, January 29, 1882. 
DEAR FRIEND : 

Herr von Billow has the ill-breeding of Prussian 
officers in his constitution 1 ; he is, however, an "honest 
man" the fact that he will no longer have anything 
to do with German opera music is accounted for by 
all kinds of secret reasons. I remember his once say 
ing to me : "I do not know Wagner s later music." 
Go to Bayreuth in the summer and you will find the 
whole theatrical world of Germany assembled there, 
even Prince Lichtenstein, etc., etc., Levi, 2 too. I sup 
pose all my friends will be there, my sister as well, 



This refers to a note that Hans von Billow wrote to Cast, 
when returning the Ms. of a piece of Cast s music entitled, 
"Fun, Craft and Revenge," which Cast had sent him. Billow did 
not even trouble to look at the music, and wrote in a strain 
which implied that he took Cast to be one of the imitatores 
put of the servum pecus Wagneri. The letter began: "R. W. 
is a phenomenon, and phenomena don t create schools." Cast 
thanked him for the information, and returned his letter, saying 
that he could not show his respect for Biilow more aptly than 
by regarding his letter as unwritten. Nietzsche agreed with 
this treatment of the matter. Translator. 

*The Conductor. 



144 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

after your letter of yesterday (and I am very glad of 
it). 

If I were with you I should introduce Horace s sat 
ires and letters to you I feel that we are both ripe 
and ready for them. When I glanced into them to-day, 
I thought all the expressions were charming, as 
charming as a warm winter s day. 

My last letter struck you as being "frivolous," didn t 
it? Have patience! In respect of my "thoughts," it 
is nothing to me to have them but to get rid of them 
when I should like to do so is always infernally dif 
ficult for me! 

Oh, what days we are having ! Oh, the wonder of this 
beautiful January ! Let us be of good cheer, dearest 
friend ! 

To HERR. OB. REG. R. KRUG. 

Genoa, February, 1882. 
DEAR FRIEND: 

Your songs affected me strangely. One fine after 
noon I happened to think of all your music and musi 
cal talent and at last I asked myself why on earth you 
did not get something printed. And then my ears 
rang with a line from Jung Niklas. The following 
morning my friend Ree arrived at Genoa and handed 
me your first book, and when I opened it, what was 
the first thing I saw but Jung NU:las! This would be 
a good anecdote for the Spiritualists! Your music 
has qualities which are rare nowadays. In my opin 
ion all modern music seems to be suffering from an 
ever increasing atrophy of the sense of melody. Mel 
ody, as the last and most sublime art of arts, is ruled 



FEIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 145 

by logical laws which our anarchists would like to 
decry as tyranny! But the one thing I am certain 
about is that they are unable to reach up to these 
sweetest and ripest of fruits. I recommend all com 
posers the following most delightful ascetic regimen 
for a while to regard harmony as undiscovered, and 
to collect a store of pure melodies from Beethoven 
and Chopin, for instance. Much of the excellent past 
reaches my ears through your music and, as you per 
ceive, some of the future as well. 

I thank you most heartily. 

Yours, 
F. N. 

NIETZSCHE TO His SISTER. 

Genoa, February 3, 1882. 

Just a few lines, my darling sister, to thank you 
for your kind words about Wagner and Bayreuth. 
Certainly the time I spent with him in Triebschen 
and enjoyed through him at Bayreuth (in 1872, not in 
1876) is the happiest I have had in my whole life. 
But the omnipotent violence of our tasks drove us 
asunder and now we can never more be united; we 
have grown too strange to each other. 

The day I found Wagner I was happy beyond de 
scription. So long had I been seeking for the man 
who stood on a higher plane than I did, and who 
really comprised me. I believed I had found this 
man in Wagner. It was a mistake. And now it would 
not even be right to compare myself with him I be 
long to another order of beings. 

In any case I have had to pay dearly for my craze 



14(5 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

for Wagner. Has not the nerve-destroying power of 
his music ruined my health was it not dangerous to 
life? Has it not taken me almost six years to recover 
from this pain? No, Bayreuth is impossible for me! 
What I wrote a day or two ago was only a joke. But 
you at all events must go to Bayreuth. Your going 
would be of the greatest value to me. 

YOUR DEVOTED BROTHER. 

To ROHDE. 

Tantenberg, July 15, 1882. 
MY DEAR OLD FRIEND : 

It cannot be helped ; to-day I must prepare you for 
a new book from my pen ; you have at most another 
month s peace before it will reach you. There is this 
extenuating circumstance, that it will be the last 
for many a long year for in the autumn I am going 
to the University of Vienna to begin student life 
afresh, after having made somewhat of a failure of 
the old life, thanks to a too one-sided study of philol 
ogy. Now I have my own plan of study and behind 
it my own secret goal to which the remaining years 
of my life are consecrated. I find it too hard to live 
if I cannot do so in the grand style this in confidence 
to you, my old comrade ! Without a goal that I could 
regard as inexpressibly important I should not have 
been able to hold myself aloft in the light above 
the black floods. This is really my only excuse for 
the sort of literature I have been producing ever since 
1875; it is my recipe, my self-concocted medicine 
against the disgust of life. What years they have 
been ! What lingering agony ! What inward strife, 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 147 

upheavals, and isolation! Who has ever endured as 
much as I? Certainly not Leopardi. And if to-day 
I stand above it ally with the courage of a conqueror 
and laden with weighty new plans and, if I know 
myself, with the prospect of even harder and more 
secret sorrows and tragedies, and with the courage to 
meet them ! then no one has the right to blame me if 
I think well of my medicine. Mihi ipsi scripsi 1 that 
settles it. And so let everyone do the best he can for 
himself that is my moral the only one I have left. 
Even if my bodily health returns, to whom do I owe 
this change? In every respect I have been my own 
doctor, and as everything in me is one I was obliged 
to treat my soul, my mind, and my body all at once 
and with the same remedies. I admit that others 
would have perished from my treatment, but that is 
why I am so eager in warning people against myself. 
This last book, which bears the title of "The Joyful 
Wisdom," will act as a special danger signal to many, 
even to you perhaps, dear old friend Rohde ! It con 
tains a portrait of myself and I am convinced it is not 
the portrait of me which you carry in your heart. 

Well, then, have patience even if only because you 
must realize that with me it is "ant mori aut ita vi- 
vere"* 

Yours very affectionately, 

NIETZSCHE, 



I have written for myself." Translator. 
To die or to live as I do." Translator. 



148 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

To MADAME LOUISE O. 

Naumburg, September, 1882. 
VERY DEAR FRIEND : 

Or am I not allowed to use this word after six 
years? 

Meanwhile I have been living nearer to death than 
to life, and have consequently become a little too much 
of a "sage/ or almost a "saint." . . . 

Still, such things may perhaps be cured ! For once 
again I believe in life, in men, in Paris, and even in 
myself; and very shortly I shall see you again. My 
last book is called "The Joyful Wisdom." 

Are the skies bright and cheerful in Paris? Do you 
happen to know of any room that would suit my re 
quirements? It would have to be an apartment silent 
as death and very simply furnished and not too far 
away from you, my dear Madame. . . . 

Or do you advise me not to come to Paris? Perhaps 
it is not the place for anchorites and men who wish 
to go silently about their life-work, caring nothing 
for politics and the present? 

You have no idea what a charming memory you 
are to me. 

Cordially yours, 
PROFESSOR DR. F. NIETZSCHE. 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Rapallo, February 1, 1883. 
DEAR FRIEND : 

. . . But perhaps it would please you to hear 
what there is to be finished and printed^ It is a ques 
tion of a very small book of about one hundred 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 149 

printed pages only. But it is my best work, and with . 
it I have removed a heavy__sj;one from my soul. I have I 
never done anything more serious or more cheerful ; 
it is my hearty desire that this colour which does 
not even need to be a mixed colour should become 
ever more and more my "natural" colour. The book, 
is to be called : 

THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA 

A Book for All and None 

by 
F. N. 

With this work I have entered a new "Ring" 
henceforward I shall be regarded as a madman in 
Germany. It is a wonderful kind of "moral lecture." 

My sojourn in Germany has forced me to exactly 
the same point of view as yours did, dear friend- 
that is to say, that I no longer form part of her. 
And now, at least, after my Zarathustra, I also feel 
as you feel : this insight and the establishing of one s 
attitude have given me courage. 

Where do ice now belong? Let us rejoice that we 
should be allowed to ask ourselves this question at 
all! 

Our experiences have been somewhat similar; but 
you have this advantage over me a better tempera 
ment, a better, calmer, and more lonely past and 
better health than I have. 

Well, then, I shall remain here until the 10th. After 
that my address will be Roma, poste restante. 

Ever with you in thought and wish, p -j^- 

You have delighted the Overbecks and myself as 
well! 



150 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Kapallo, February 19, 1883. 
DEAR FRIEND: 

Every one of your last letters was a loon to me; 
I thank you for them from the bottom of my heart. 

This winter has been the worst I have ever had in 
my life, and I regard myself as a victim of a meteoro- 
\ logical disturbance. The old flood for the sins of 
Europe is still too much for me ; but perhaps some one 
may yet come to my rescue and help me up to the 
highlands of Mexico. The only thing is that I can 
not undertake such journeys; my eyes and one or 
two other things forbid it. 

</ The appalling burden which, thanks to the weather, 
is now weighing me down (even old Etna has now 
begun to rage!) has transformed itself into thoughts 
and feelings the pressure of which is frightful; and 
from the sudden detachment of this burden, as the 
result of the ten absolutely cheerful and bracing days 
we had in January, my Zarathustrfy was born, the 
\ most detached of all my productions. Triibner is al 
ready printing it, and I myself prepared the copy 
for press. Moreover Schmeitzner writes to say that 
during the last few years all my works have had a 
better sale, and I have received many other tokens 
of increasing sympathy. Even a member of the Reichs 
tag, a follower of Bismarck (Delbrtick 1 ) is said to have 
expressed himself in terms of the utmost vexation 
over the fact that I lived not in Berlin but in Santa 
Margherita ! 

Rudolf von Delbriick. the Leader of the National Liberal 
Party. 



FBIEDBICH NIETZSCHE 151 

Forgive this chatter; you know what else I now 
have in my mind and next my heart. I was very ill 
indeed for a day or two, and made my hosts quite 
anxious. I am better now and I even believe that 
Wagner s death was the most substantial relief that 
could have been given me just now. It was hard 
for six years to have to be the opponent of the man 
one had most reverenced on earth, and my constitu 
tion is not sufficiently coarse for such a position. After 
all it was Wagner grown senile whom I was forced 
to resist; as to the genuine Wagner, I shall yet at 
tempt to become in a great measure his Jieir (as I 
have often assured Friiulein Malvida, though she 
would not believe it). Last summer I felt that he 
had alienated all those men from me who were the 
only ones in Germany I might have influenced to some 
purpose, and had inveigled them into the confused 
and wild hostility of his last years. 

I need hardly say that I have of course written 
to Cosima. 

As to what you say about Lou, I could not help 
having a good laugh. Do you really believe that in 
this matter my taste differs from your own? No, 
certainly not! But in the case in point there was 
damned little question of "the attraction of loveli 
ness or the reverse," but only whether a highly gifted 
human being was to be brought to naught or not. 

So the proofs may once more be sent to you for 
correction, my old and helpful friend? My heartiest 
thanks for it all. 

F. N. 



152 SELECTED LETTEKS OF 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Genoa, March 22, 1883. 
MY DEAR FRIEND: 

I saw "Carmen" again last night it was perhaps 
the twentieth performance this year; the house was 
packed to overflowing as usual; it is the opera of 
operas here. You ought to hear the death-like silence 
that reigns when the Genoese listen to their favourite 
piece the prelude to the fourth act, and the yells 
for an encore that follow. They are also very fond 
of the "Tarantella." Well, dear old friend, I too was 
very happy once again ; when this music is played 
some very deep stratum seems to be stirred in me, 
and while listening to it I always feel resolved to 
hold out to the end and to unburden my heart of its 
supremest malice rather than perish beneath the 
weight of my own thoughts. During the performance 
I did little else than compose Dionysian songs, in 
which I made so bold as to say the most terrible 
things in the most terrible and laughable manner. 
This is the latest form my madness has taken. 

Forgive me for writing so often. I have so few 
people to confide in now. 

Your devoted 

F. N. 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Genoa, April 27, 1883. 
DEAR FRIEND: 

. . . And last of all came Wagner s death. What 
recollections did not this news bring back to me! 
The whole of this relationship and broken relation- 



FKIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 153 

ship with Wagner has proved my severest trial in 
connection with my justice toward people in general, 
and of late I had at last succeeded in practising that 
"indolence" in this matter of which you write. And 
what on earth could be more melancholy than in 
dolence, when I think of those times in which the 
latter part of "Siegfried" was written! Then we 
loved each other and hoped everything for each other 
it was truly a profound love, free from all arriere- 
pensee. . . . 

Your friend, 

NIETZSCHE. 

To FREIHERR KARL VON GERSDORFF. 

Sils-Maria, June 28, 1883. 
MY DEAR OLD FRIEND GERSDORFF: 

I have just heard of the terrible blow that has 
befallen you in the loss of your mother. When I 
learnt it, I derived genuine comfort from the thought 
that at least you are not alone in life, and called to 
mind the cordial and grateful words with which you 
spoke to me of your life companion in your last let 
ter. You and I have been through some rough times 
in our youth rough for many reasons and it would 
be only just and proper for our manhood to be 
blessed with milder, more comforting and encourag 
ing experiences. 

As for myself, a long and arduous asceticism of 
the spirit lies behind me, which I undertook quite 
voluntarily, though it would not be right for every 
body to expect it of himself. The last six years have, 
in this respect, been the years of my severest efforts 



154 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

in self-controlfand this is leaving out of all reckoning 
what I have had to overcome in the way of ill-health, 
solitude, misunderstanding, and persecution.^? Suf 
fice it to say that I have overcome this stage in my 
life and I shall use all that remains of life (not 
much, I imagine) in giving full and complete expres 
sion to the object for which I have so far endured 
life at all. The period of silence is over. My Zara- 
thustra, which will be sent to you in a week or so, will 
perhaps show you to what lofty heights my_will has 
soared. Do not be deceived by the legendary charac 
ter of this little book. Beneath all these simple but 
outlandish words lie my whole philosophy and the 
things about which I am most in earnest. It is my 
first step in making myself known nothing more! 
I know perfectly well that there is no one alive who 
could create anything like this Zarathustra. 

Well, my dear old friend, I am once more in the 
Ober-Engadine. This is my third visit to the place 
and once again I feel that my proper lair and home 
is here and nowhere else. Oh, how much that wishes 
to become word and form still lies concealed within 
me ! I cannot be too quiet, I cannot stand sufficiently 
high up, I cannot be too much alone, if I wish to hear 
the voices that are buried deepest within me. 

I should like to have enough money to build myself 
a sort of ideal dog-kennel I mean, a wooden hut 
with two rooms, on a peninsula jutting out into the 
Silser Lake, where a Roman castle once stood. Living 
in these peasants cottages, as I have done hitherto, 
has in the end become unendurable. The rooms are 
low and confined, and there is always a good deal 



FKIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 155 

of noise. Otherwise the people of Sils-Maria are 
very kindly disposed to me and I think well of them. 
I board at the Edelweiss Hotel, an excellent hostelry. 
Of course I take my meals alone there at a price 
which is not altogether out of keeping with my slen 
der means. I brought a large basketful of books 
with me to this place, so I am once more fixed up for 
a spell of three months. My Muses live here ; in the 
Wanderer and his Shadow I have already said that 
this region is "related to me by blood and something 
more." . . . 

Yours, 
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 
Sils-Maria (The Engadine), July 1, 1883. 
DEAR FRIEND GAST : 

How is it that I have not written to you for such 
an age? I have just asked myself this question. But 
all this time I have felt so uncertain and irresolute. 
A breath of illness still hung about me, and so I did 
not wish to write (unfortunately I have written far 
too many letters this winter that are full of illness). 
Besides which a number of things have gone wrong 
with me, for instance, my attempt to find a summer 
abode for myself in Italy. I tried first in the Volscian 
mountains, and again in the Abruzzi (in Aquila). 
What I wonder at now is why, every year about spring 
time, I feel such a violent impulse to go ever further 
south; this year to Rome, last year to Messina, and 
two years ago I was on the very point of embarking 
for Tunis when the war broke out. The explanation 



156 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

must be this, that throughout every winter I suffer 
so terribly from the cold (three winters without a 
fire!) that with the coming of the warmer weather 
a veritable craving for warmth takes possession of 
me. This year I felt in addition a craving for the 
society of my fellow men. I mean a human kind of 
relationship, and particularly for a more human kind 
of society than I enjoyed last spring. Truth to tell, 
now that I can look back on it all, my lot during 
the whole of last year and this winter has been of 
the most horrible and forbidding kind; and I mar 
vel at the fact that I have escaped it all with my 
life I marvel and I shudder, too. In Rome people 
showed me plenty of kindness and good nature, and 
those who have been good to me are more than ever 
so now. 

As to Zaratliustra, I have just heard that it is still 
"awaiting dispatch" in Leipzig ; even the complimen 
tary copies. This is owing to the "very important 
conferences" and constant journeyings of the chief 
of the Alliance Antijuive, Heir Schmeitzner. On that 
account "the publishing business must for once mark 
time for a bit," he writes. It really is too ludicrous ; 
first the Christian obstruction, the 500,000 hymn 
books, and now the anti-Semitic obstruction these 
are truly experiences for the founder of a religion. 
b Malvida and my sister were astonished to find Za- 
\ rathustra so bitter (so embittered) ; I how sweet. 
De gustibus, etc. 1 

Now I am once again in my beloved Sils-Maria in 



"Degustibus non est disputandum." (About tastes people 
differ. ) Translator. 



FKIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 157 

the Engadine, the spot where I hope one day to die; 
meanwhile it offers me the best incentive to live on. 
On the whole I am remarkably undecided, shaken, 
and full of questionings; up here it is cold, and that 
holds me together and braces me. . . . 

I shall be here three months, but after that what? 
Oh the future! Nearly every day I wonder how I 
shall ever come to hear your music again. I miss 
it. I know of so few things that thoroughly refresh 
me. But Sils-Maria and your music are among them. 

Your last letter contains a number of very fine 
thoughts, for which I truly thank myself. After 
ward I had another look at Epicurus s bust. Will 
power and intellectuality are its most salient charac 
teristics. 

Your ever heartily devoted, 

F. N. 

To PETER GAST. 

Sils-Maria, 13 July, 1883. 
DEAR FRIEND : 

Since my last letter I have been better, my spirits 
have improved, and all of a sudden I have conceived 
the second part of "Thus Spake Zarathustra." The 
birth followed upon the conception; the whole thing 
was worked out with the greatest vehemence. 

(While working upon it, the thought struck me that 
one day I should probably die from an outburst and 
overflow of emotion like this : the devil take me ! ) 

The MS. will be ready for press the day after to 
morrow morning, and my eyes describe limits to my 
industrv. 



158 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

If you read the last page of Zarathustra, Part I, 
you will find the words: 

" and only when ye have all denied me will I re 
turn unto you. 

"Verily, with other eyes, my brethren, shall I then 
seek my lost ones, with another love shall I then love 
you." 1 

This is the motto to the Second Part: out of it 
as it would be almost foolish to tell a musician, I 
evolve different harmonies and modulations from 
those in Part I. 

It was chiefly a matter of climbing on to the second 
rung, in order from this position, to reach the third 
(the title of which is "Midday and Eternity." I have 
already told you this; but I beg you most earnestly 
not to speak about it to anyone. As for the third 
part, Fll allow myself some time, and for the fourth, 
perhaps years ) 

If, now, I ask you again kindly to help me with 
the correction of my proofs this request exceeds the 
bounds of all friendship and decency, and if you can 
not contrive to justify me in my request I cannot 
contrive to make it ! 

Your devoted friend, 

NIETZSCHE. 

To PETER GAST. 
MYDEARFKIEND: Sils-Maria, 3rd August, 1883. 

Epicurus is precisely the best negative argument in 
favour of my challenge to all rare spirits to isolate 

See Dr. Levy s English Edition. Vol. XI, p. 90. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 159 

themselves from the mass of their fellows; up to the 
present the world has made him pay, as it did even in 
his own day, for the fact that he allowed himself to 
be confused with others, and that he treated the ques 
tion of public opinion about himself with levity, with 
godlike levity. Already in the last days of his fame, 
the swine broke into his garden, and it is one of the 
ironies of fate, that we have to believe a Seneca in 
favour of Epicurean manliness and loftiness of soul 
Seneca, a man to whom one should, on the whole, al 
ways lend an ear, but never give one s faith and trust. 
In Corsica people say : Seneca e un birbone. 1 

Your friend, 

NIETZSCHE. 

NIETZSCHE TO His MOTHER. 

Sils-Maria, August, 1883. 
MY DEAR MOTHER: 

I have received everything in the way of food and 
the necessaries of life unfortunately, too, your letter, 
which made me feel very wretched. Really, these dis 
sertations on Christianity and on the opinions of this 
man and that as to what I should do and ought to 
think on the subject should no longer be directed to 
my address. My patience won t stand it ! The atmos 
phere in which you live, among these "good Chris 
tians," with their one-sided and often presumptuous 
judgments, is as opposed as it possibly can be to my 
own feelings and most remote aims. I do not say 
anything about it, but I know that if people of this 

a Seneca is a rascal. Translator. 



160 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

kind, even including my mother and sister, had an 
inkling of what I am aiming at, they would have no 
alternative but to become my natural enemies. This 
cannot be helped ; the reasons for it lie in the nature 
of things. It spoils my love of life to live among 
such people, and I have to exercise considerable self- 
control in order not to react constantly against this 
sanctimonious atmosphere of Naumburg (in which I 
include many uncles and aunts who do not live in 
Naumburg). 

Let us, my dear mother, do as we have done hither 
to, and avoid all these serious questions in our let 
ters. Moreover, I doubt whether our Lizzie could 
have read your letter. 

My spirits and health have once more been very 
much impaired by the fact that the ghastly affair 
of last year is once more abroad and adding woe 
to woe. As to the ultimate outcome of it all, as far 
as I am concerned, ever since last August I have had 
the most gloomy forebodings. I am now working like 
a man who is "putting his house in order before de 
parting." Don t say any more about it. I shall not 
either, and forgive me if this letter has turned out 
to be such a melancholy effusion. 

Your son, 

FRITZ. 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Sils-Maria, August 16, 1883. 
DEAR FRIEND : 

Where do you get all these delightful Epicureaf 
I mean not only your Epicurea epigrams but every- 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 161 

thing reminiscent of the air and fragrance of Epicu- 
rus s garden that has emanated from all your letters 
of late. Oh, I am so badly in need of such things 
including that divine feat "eluding the masses." 
For, truth to tell, / am icell nigh crushed to death. 
But let me change the subject. 

f The fate of the Island of Ischia 1 makes me more 
and more miserable, for apart from those features 
about it that concern all men, there is something in 
the event that hits very near home where I am con 
cerned and in a peculiarly terrible way. This island 
was so dear to me; if you have finished the second 
part of Zarathustra, where I speak of seeking my 
"Happy Isles," this will be clear to you. "Cupid 
dancing with the maidens" can only be grasped im 
mediately in Ischia (the girls of Ischia speak of "Cu- 
pido"). Scarcely have I finished my poem than the 
island goes to bits. You remember that the very 
hour I passed the first part of Zarathustra for press 
Wagner died.^ On this occasion, at the corresponding 
hour, I received news that made me so indignant that 
there will in all probability be a duel with pistols this 
autumn. 2 Silentium! Dear friend! 

Meanwhile I have drafted out a plan of a "morality 
for Moralists," and readjusted and rectified my views 
in many ways. The unconscious and involuntary 
congruity of thought and coherence prevalent in the 
multifarious mass of my later books has astonished 
me; one cannot escape from oneself; that is why one 

The gigantic earthquake on July 28, 1883. 
"The Lou Ree affair. Translator. 



162 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

should dare to let oneself go ever further in one s 
own personality. 

I confess that what I should most like at present 
would be for some one else to compile a sort of digest 
of the results of all my thought, and thereby draw 
a comparison between me and all other thinkers up 
to my time. Out of a veritable abyss of the most un 
deserved and most enduring contempt in which the 
whole of my work and endeavour has lain since the 
year 1876, I long for a word of wisdom concerning 
myself. 

Yours, 

NIETZSCHE. 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Sils-Maria, August 26, 1883. 

How your letter overjoyed me once again, my Ve 
netian friend! That is what I call "Lectures on 
Greek Culture" to one who needs them and not to an 
audience of Leipzig students et hoc genus omne! 1 

For a whole year I have been goaded on to a class 
of feelings which with the best will in the world I 
had abjured, and which at least in their more gross 
manifestations I really thought I had mastered; I 
refer to the feelings of revenge and "resentment." 

The idea of delivering lectures in Leipzig partook 
of the nature of despair I wished to find distraction 
in the hardest daily toil without being thrown back 
on my ultimate tasks. But the idea has already been 



And all that class. Translator. 



FRIEDEICH NIETZSCHE 163 

abandoned, and Heinze, the present Hector of the Uni 
versity, has made it clear to me that my attempt at 
Leipzig would have been a failure (just as it would 
be at all German Universities) owing to the fact that 
the Faculty would never dare to recommend me to the 
Board of Education in view of my attitude towards 
Christianity and the concept of God. Bravo! This 
expression of opinion restored my courage to me. 1 

Even the first criticism of the first part of Zara 
thustra that I have received (written by a Christian 
and anti-Semite to boot, and strangely enough pro 
duced in a prison) gives me courage, seeing that in 
it the popular attitude, which is the only one in me 
that can be grasped to wit, my attitude towards 
Christianity was immediately, distinctly and well 
understood. "Aut Christ us aut Zarathustra!" Or, 
to put it plainly, the old long-promised Anti-Christ 
has come to the fore that is what my readers 
feel. And so all the defenders "of our creed and of 
the Saviour of Mankind" are solemnly mustered 
("gird up your loins with the sword of the Holy 
Ghost"!!) against Zarathustra, and then it goes on: 
"If he conquers you, he will be yours and he will be 
true, for in him is there nothing false ; if he conquers 
you, you will have forfeited your faith; that is the 
penance you will have to pay the Victor!" 



Teter Cast, commenting on this passage, says: "It is one 
of the great ironies of Fate, that the same University which 
had once freely granted Nietzsche the Doctor s degree, could 
no longer offer him any position when, at a time when his 
importance seemed established in the eyes of many, he applied 
to them for admission." Translator. 

Either Christ or Zarathustra. Translator. 



164 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

Ludicrous as it may perhaps sound to you, dear 
friend, at this point I heard for the first time from 
outside that which I have heard from within and have 
known for ever so long, namely, that I am the most 
terrible opponent of Christianity, and have discovered 
a mode of attack of which even Voltaire had not an 
inkling. 1 But what does all this "thank God !" mat 
ter to you? 

What I envy in Epicurus are the disciples in his 
garden, aye, in such circumstances one could certainly 
forget noble Greece and more certainly still ignoble 
Germany! And hence my rage since I have grasped 
in the broadest possible sense what wretched means 
( the depreciation of my good name, my character and 
my aims) suffice to take from me the trust of, and 
therewith the possibility of obtaining, pupils. You 
will believe me when I say that I have not written a 
single line "for the sake of fame"; but I fancied that 
my writings might prove a good bait. For, after all, 
the impulse to teach is strong in me. And to this 
extent I require fame, so that I may get disciples 
particularly in view of the fact that, to judge from 
recent experiences, a University post is impossible. 

Yours, 
F. N. 



*It should be remembered that the pioneers of enlighten 
ment always attacked Christianity on the side of its myths, 
its cult, its priesthood, and regarded Christian morality as 
unassailable. Nietzsche, on the other hand, attacks the morality 
of Christianity, and that for biological reasons; because he con 
siders its effects ruinous to the race. Translator. 



FBIEDKICH NIETZSCHE 165 

NIETZSCHE TO His SISTER. 

Sils-Maria, End of August, 1883. 
MY DEAR SISTER : 

To-day, just as it was three days ago, the weather 
is perfectly bright and clear and I can survey with 
cheerfulness and confidence that which I have and 
have not achieved up to the present, and that which 
I still expect from myself. You do not know this, 
and that is why I cannot take it amiss that you should 
wish to see me on other ground, more secure and more 

protected. Your letter to made me think a 

good deal, and the chance remark you made about 
my condition in Bale having certainly been the best 
hitherto, made me think even more. I, on the other 
hand, judge the matter as follows: the whole mean 
ing of the terrible physical suffering to which I was 
exposed lies in the fact that, thanks to it alone, I was 
torn away from an estimate of my life-task which 
was not only false but a hundred times too low. And 
as by nature I belong to the modest among men, some 
violent means were necessary in order to recall me 
to myself. Even the teachers I had as a young man 
are probably, in relation to what I have to do, only 
minor and transitory forces. The fact that I stood 
above them and contemplated their ideals over their 
heads above all these Schopenhauers and Wagners 
this is what prevented them from being quite in 
dispensable to me, and now I could not do myself 
a greater injustice than to judge myself according 
to these contemporaries whom I have in every sense 
overcome. Every word in my Zarathustra is simply 
so much triumphant scorn and more than scorn, flung 



166 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

at the ideals of this period, and behind almost every 
word there stands a personal experience, an act of 
self-overcoming of the highest order. It is absolutely 
necessary that I should be misunderstood; nay, I 
would go even further and say that I must succeed 
in being understood in the worst possible way and 
despised. The fact that those "nearest to me" should 
be the first to do this was what I understood last 
summer and the following autumn, and by that alone 
I became filled with the glorious consciousness of 
being on the right road. This feeling may be read 
everywhere in Zarathiistra. The dreadful winter, to 
gether with my bad health, made me forget it, and 
sapped my courage, just as the things which have 
happened to me during the last few weeks have 
brought me into the greatest danger the danger of 
departing from my appointed path. The moment I 
am now forced to say: "I cannot endure loneliness 
any longer," I am conscious of having fallen to untold 
depths in my own estimation of having deserted the 
highest that is in me. 

What do these Rees and Lous matter ! How can I 
be their enemy? And even if they have harmed me, 
I have surely derived enough profit from them, if 
only from the fact that they are people of such a 
different order from myself; in this I find complete 
compensation aye, even a reason for feeling grate 
ful to them both. They both seemed to be original 
people and not copies, and that is why I suffered 
their company, however distasteful they were to me. 
As regards "friendship" until now I have practised 
the most severe abstinence (Schmeitzner declares 



FRIEDBICH NIETZSCHE 107 

that I have no friends, that I "have been left ab 
solutely in the lurch for ten years!") In so far as 
the general trend of my nature is concerned, I have 
no comrades; nobody has any idea when I most need 
comfort, encouragement, or a shake of the hand. An 
extreme instance of this occurred last year, after my 
stay at Tantenburg and Leipzig. And if ever I com 
plain the whole world thinks it is entitled to exercise 
its modicum of power over me as a sufferer they call 
it consolation, pity, good advice, etc. 

But men like myself have always had to put up 
with the same sort of thing; my purely personal trou 
ble is my declining health, which makes itself felt by 
a depreciation of my feeling of power and by a lack 
of confidence in myself. And as, under this European 
sky, I suffer and am low-spirited for at least eight 
months in the year, it is a stroke of exceptional luck 
that I am able to bear it any longer. What I mean 
by luck in this connection is no more than the ab 
sence of such strokes of ill fortune as that of last 
year that is to say, that no other stones should 
enter the works of my watch. For I might perish 
from the effects of small stones, because at present 
the watch is most highly complicated and the respon 
sibility for all the most exalted questions of knowl 
edge rests on my shoulders. In summa, to draw some 
practical conclusions from these generalities, remem 
ber, my dear sister, never to remind me either by 
word of mouth or in writing, of those matters that 
would deprive me of my self-confidence, aye, almost 
of the whole point of my existence hitherto. If these 
things affect and have affected me so much, ascribe 



168 SELECTED LET TEES OF 

it to my health! Cultivate forgetfulness and any 
thing else new and quite different from these things, 
in order that I may learn to laugh at the loss of such 
friends! And remember that his contemporaries can 
never be just to a man like myself, and that every 
compromise for the sake of "a good name" is unwor 
thy of me. 

Written under a bright clear sky, with a clear mind, 
a good digestion, and the time early morning. 

Your BROTHER. 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 
Sils-Maria, Monday, September 3, 1883. 
MY DEAR FRIEND : 

Once again my stay in the Engadine has come to 
an end, and I shall leave here on Wednesday for 
Germany, where there is much for me to do and to 
settle. If you should wish to write to me, direct 
the letter to Naumburg; there in my most natural 
frame of mind I will rest awhile and recuperate, in 
addition to eating a good deal of fine fruit. What 
I shall miss there, as everywhere, is your music. I 
believe that just as my work makes a stronger and 
more discomfiting impression upon you than upon 
anyone else, so everything that proceeds from you 
has a more soothing effect upon me than upon anyone 
else. This is indeed a fine relationship between us! 
May be it is the sort of relationship that might exist 
between a writer of comedy and a writer of tragedy 
(I remember telling you that Wagner saw in me a 
writer of tragedy in disguise) ; it is certainly true 
that on the whole I come out of it in a more Epicu- 



FEIEDBICH NIETZSCHE 169 

rean fashion than you do; for thus is the "law of 
things." The writer of comedy is of the higher spe 
cies, and must do more good than the other, whether 
he wants to or not. 

This Engadine is the birthplace of my Zarathustra. 
Only a moment ago I found the first draft of the 
thoughts incorporated in it. And one of the notes 
reads as follows : "The beginning of August 1881 in 
Sils-Maria, 6,000 feet above the sea, and at a much 
higher altitude above all human affairs." 

I wonder how the pain and confusion of my spirit 
affected the tone of the first two parts! (for the 
thoughts and the aims were already fixed). How 
strange dear old friend! Quite seriously, I believe, 
that Zarathustra turned out to be more cheerful and 
happier than he would otherwise have been. I could 
prove this almost "docurnentarily." 

On the other hand : I should not have suffered, nor 
should I suffer still a quarter as much as I have 
done, if during the last two years I had not fifty 
times over applied the themes of my hermit theories 
to practical life, and owing to the evil yea ! terrible 
results of this exercise driven myself to doubts con 
cerning my very self. To this extent did Zarathustra 
wax cheerful at my expense, and at his expense did 
I grow overcast with gloom. 

By-the-bye, I must inform you, not without re 
gret, that now with the third part, poor Zarathustra 
is really going to be plunged in gloom so much so, 
that Schopenhauer and Leopardi will seem like chil 
dren and beginners beside his "pessimism." But the 
plan of the work requires it. In order, however, to 



170 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

be able to write this part, what I shall need, in the 
first place, is profound Heavenly cheerfulness for I 
shall succeed with the pathos of the highest kind, only 
if I treat it as play. (In the end everything becomes 
bright, ) 

Perhaps I shall work at something theoretical mean 
while; my notes for this work bear the heading: 

THE INNOCENCE OF BECOMING 

A finger-post pointing to the deliverance from Mo 
rality. . . . 
Remain ever true to your friend, 

NIETZSCHE. 



NIETZSCHE TO His SISTER. 

Genoa, November, 1883. 
MY DEAR LAMA : 

The thought of being reckoned among the authors ! 
that belongs to the things that make me tremble with 
disgust. But, my dear sister, just study "Dawn of 
Day" and "Joyful Wisdom/ books whose contents 
and whose future are the richest on earth ! In your 
last letters there was a good deal about "egoistic" 
and "unegoistic," that ought no longer to be writ 
ten by my sister. I draw above all a sharp line be 
tween strong and weak men those who are destined 
to rulership, and those who are destined to service, 
obedience, and devotion. That which turns my stom 
ach in this age is the untold amount of weakness, 
unmanliness, impersonality, changeableness, and 
good-nature in short iceakness in the matter of 
, which would fain masquerade as "vir- 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 171 

tue." That which has given me pleasure up to the 
present has been the sight of men with a long will 
who can hold their peace for years and who do not 
simply on that account deck themselves out with pom 
pous moral phraseology, and parade as "heroes" or 
"noblemen," but who are honest enough to believe in 
nothing but themselves and their will, in order to 
stamp it upon mankind for all time. 

Excuse me. That which drew me to Richard Wag 
ner was this; Schopenhauer, too, had the same feel 
ing all his life. . . . 

I know perhaps better than anyone else how to rec 
ognize an order of rank even among strong men-, ac 
cording to their virtue, and on the same principle there 
are certainly hundreds of sorts of very decent and 
lovable people among the weak in keeping with the 
virtues peculiar to the weak. There are some strong 
"selves" whose selfishness one might call divine (for 
instance Zarathu stra s) but any kind of strength is 
in itself alone a refreshing and blessed spectacle. Read 
Shakespeare! He is full of such strong men, raw, 
hard, and mighty men of granite. Our age is so 
poor in these men and even in strong men who 
have enough brains for my thoughts! 

Do not form too low an estimate of the disappoint 
ment and loss I have suffered this year. You cannot 
think how lonely and "out of it" I always feel when 
I am in the midst of all the kindly Tartufferie of 
those people whom you call "good," and how intensely 
I yearn at times for a man who is honest and who 

can talk even if he were a monster [ ] , but of 

course I should prefer discourse with demi-gods. 



172 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

But once again, forgive me! I am writing you all 
this out of the heartiest depths of my heart, and 
know very well how very good your intentions are 
where I am concerned. Oh, this infernal solitude! 

F. N. 

P. S. Stein is still too young for me. I should 
spoil him. I almost spoilt Gast I have to be most 
awfully careful of my Ps and Qs with him. 

To ROHDE. 

Nice, February 22, 1884. 
MY DEAR OLD FRIEND: 

I know not how it was, but when I read your last 
letter and especially when I saw the charming photo 
graph of your child, I felt as if you were shaking me 
by the hand gazing at me sadly the while sadly, as 
if you meant to say: "How is it possible that we 
should have so little in common now, and that we 
should be living as if in different worlds ! And there 
was a time when " 

The same thing, dear friend, has happened in re 
gard to all the people I love; everything is over, it 
all belongs to the past, it is all merely merciful indul 
gence now. We see each other still, we talk in order 
to avoid being silent we still write each other letters 
in order to avoid being silent. Truth, however 
glances from their eyes, and these tell me (I hear it 
well enough) : "Friend Nietzsche, you are now quite 
alone !" 

That s what I have lived and fought for ! 



FRIEDKICH NIETZSCHE 173 

Meanwhile I continue along my road; as a matter 
of fact it is a journey, a sea-journey and it is not in 
vain that I sojourned for so many years in Colum 
bus town. 

My Zamthustra has come to an end in its three acts. 
You have the first, and the two others I hope to be 
able to send you within a month or six weeks. There 
is a sort of abyss of the future, something uncanny, 
particularly in his supreme happiness. Everything 
in it is my own, independent of all example, parallel, 
or predecessor. He who has once lived in its atmos 
phere returns to this world with another face. 

But of this one should not speak. From you, 
however, as a homo litcratus I shall not withold a 
confession : I have the idea that with this Zarathustra 
I have brought the German language to its acme of 
perfection. After Luther and Goethe there still re 
mained a third step to be taken just ask yourself, 
dear old comrade, whether power, suppleness, and 
euphony have ever before been united in this way in 
our language. Read Goethe after having read a page 
of my book and you will find that that "undulating 
quality," which Goethe as a draughtsman possessed, 
was not unknown even to the word-painter. It is in 
my more severe and more manly line that I excel 
him, without, however, descending to the coarse mob 
with Luther. My style is a dance, a play of all kinds 
of symmetries, and a vaulting and mocking of these 
symmetries. And this even extends to the choice 
of vowels. 

Forgive me! I shall take care not to make this 
confession to anyone else, but once, I believe, you 



174 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

alone expressed the pleasure my style had given you. 

Moreover I have remained a poet to the utmost 
limits of this concept, although I have already tyran 
nized over myself thoroughly with the reverse of 
everything that could be called poetry. 

Ah, dear friend, what an absurdly silent life I 
lead ! So much alone, so much alone ! So "childless" ! 

Remain fond of me ; I am truly fond of you. 

Yours, 

F. N. 



NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

[December 10, 1885] 

Nice (France) Rue St. Frangoisde Paule, II, 26. 
DEAR FRIEND: 

You may perhaps receive a letter that I addressed 
to you in Vienna ( provided that you left, or intended 
to leave, your Annaberg address with the postc res- 
tante of the principal post office there.) After all, I 
marvel at the sort of "parallelism" that has charac 
terized our experiences and zig-zag journeys this year 
so much indeed that I almost rejoice at the thought, 
for, as the result of it all, I feel imbued with a gen 
eral feeling of peace and gentle indifference, wliich I 
hope may be your reward also. At present there is 
not a soul in Germany who has an inkling of what 
I want, or of the fact that I want anything at all, 
or even that I have already attained a not insignifi- 



FKIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 175 

cant portion thereof. There is not a soul who at 
heart is either well pleased, or anxious, or distressed, 
or anything whatsoever, about the "things" that I 
hold dear. But, after all, perhaps to be aware of this 
alone is an invaluable piece of insight, and with it one 
has approached quite near to Epicurus s garden, and 
above all to oneself after it, one jumps with a mighty 
spring back to oneself. Let us continue to do that 
which ice enjoy doing that which gives us a clean 
conscience about ourselves; for the rest, silence or 
gloria, "as God may please." 

Something must be discovered and thought out by 
means of which the next few years may be made se 
cure and no longer full of dangerous accidents. In 
saying this it is you I have in mind, dear friend. It 
is quite proper that you should first try Carlsruhe. 
Whether you succeed there or not, you ought immed 
iately afterwards again to look about you for a quiet 
haunt. I have come to the sad though obvious con 
clusion that the depression that would overtake you in 
the event of another failure ought to drive you to 
Venice as the only spot on earth that suits you. 
Although I allowed myself to recommend Nice to 
you in my last letter, I was quite well aware of the 
principal obstacle in the way of your coming, and 
of your reasons for fearing that you would not be 
enough of a hermit here. Bear in mind, however, that 
the four months that I probably spend here every 
year, only make up a third of the year, and, secondly, 
that for me these four months are precisely my work 
ing period, during which I keep out of the way of 
"mankind," and perhaps of friends as well ; above all, 



176 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

consider that the friend you would find here is one 
with whom one can conclude a strict arrangement, 
and who takes an almost personal interest in all the 
conditions,, whether of your work or your life. Be 
sides there is this to be said for Nice: it is a place 
in which one can live the whole year round you will 
find it much more exhilarating than Venice in sum 
mer, thanks to the cool sea-breezes at night. Nice is, 
moreover, from an aesthetic point of view, the reverse 
of Venice, as southern cities go ; it seems to me to be 
worth your while to try it, just to see what the Muses,, 
or the mistral, or the luminous heavens would have to 
tell you here. Thirdly, you can live more cheaply 
here than at any other place on the Eiviera; Nice 
is a large open-hearted place, with attractions for all. 
Prices are naturally higher during the winter; they 
tell me that during the summer they fall 50 per cent. 
Nevertheless, even in the winter, I could recommend 
you some respectable restaurants, where your food 
would be such as you are used to having in Venice, 
but if anything cheaper and better. It is a heavenly 
blessing that you have not got the luxurious tastes 
of the majority of artists, and that your most esti 
mable life also reveals the virtues of simplicity and 
thriftiness. Later on,, of course, you will be a rich 
man, but the thing which is all important now is that 
you should be spared the care of this "later on." 
Your art requires that you should be free from worry; 
is that not so, my dear friend? 

Yours, 

N. 



FKIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 177 

NIETZSCHE TO His SISTER AND BROTHER-IN-LAW. 
Nice, After Christmas, 1885. 

MY DEAR BROTHER AND SISTER : 

The weather is perfect, and so your "famous ani 
mal" 1 must also assume a pleasant countenance, al 
though it has had many a sad day and night. Christ 
mas, however, was a regular day of rejoicing for me. 
At midday I received your kind presents, and lost no 
time in putting the chain round my neck; while the 
nice little calendar found its way into my waistcoat 
pocket. But the money must certainly have slipped 
out, if there really were money in the letter (and 
mother says there was.) Forgive your blind animal 
for this! I unpacked my treasure in the street, and 
something may certainly have fallen out, for I fum 
bled very eagerly for the letter. Let us hope that 
some poor old woman was not far off, and that she 
thus found her "Christinas stocking" filled in the 
street. I then drove to my peninsula St. Jean, ran 
a long way along the coast, and at last sat down 
among some young soldiers who were playing skit 
tles. Fresh roses and geraniums adorned the hedges 
and everything was green and warm; nothing north 
ern! Then your famous animal drank three quite 
large glasses of a sweet local wine, and w r as just the 
slightest bit top-heavy; at least, not long afterwards, 
when the breakers drew near to me, I said to them 
as one says to a bevy of farmyard fowls, "Shsh! 

*Note by Frau F.N.: "When my brother came to stay with 
us at Naumburg in the Autumn of 1885, it occurred to us to 
nickname him our famous animal " 



178 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

Shsh! Shsh!" Then I drove back to Nice, and re 
galed myself in princely fashion at dinner in my 
pension. A large Christmas tree was also lighted up. 
Just think, I have discovered a boulanger de luxe 
who understands what cheesecakes are. He said that 
the King of Wurtemberg had ordered one of these 
cakes for his birthday. It was the word "princely" 
that brought this to my mind. 

Ever your loving, 
F. 

NIETZSCHE TO His SISTER. 

Nice, February, 1886. 
MY DEAR OLD LAMA : 

Your kind and cheerful proposition has just 
reached me. If by any chance it could serve the pur 
pose of giving your husband a good opinion of the 
incorrigible European and anti-antisemite, your ut 
terly heterodox brother and "Jack-in-the-Corner" 
Fritz (although Dr. Forster had certainly other 
things to think of without troubling about me), I 
would willingly tread in Fraulein Alwinchen For- 
ster s footsteps, and beseech you to convert me into a 
South American landowner on the same lines and 
conditions. I must, however, stipulate most emphati 
cally that the plot of land be called not Frederickland 
or Frederickwood (for, to begin with, I do not wish to 
die yet and be buried there) but, in memory of the 
name I have given you Lamaland. 

Joking apart, I would send you everything I pos 
sess if it w T ould help to get you back here soon. Gen 
erally speaking, everybody who knows you and loves 



FRIEDKICH NIETZSCHE 179 

you is of opinion that it would have been a thousand 
times better for you to have been spared this experi 
ment. Even if that country were found to be ever so 
well suited to German colonization, no one would ad 
mit that precisely you two ought to be the colonizers. 
The fact that you should be seems to be the result 
of an absolutely arbitrary choice excuse the expres 
sion! it is moreover dangerous, particularly for a 
lama who is accustomed to a gentle culture and pros 
pers and capers about best in such an environment. 
The whole of this heating up of feelings, constituting 
as it does the cause of the whole affair, is too tropical 
and, in my opinion, not even wholesome for a Lama 
(or to speak more accurately, for the whole of our 
real family type, whose art lies in the reconciliation 
of contrasts.) One keeps one s beauty and youth 
longer when one neither hates nor feels mistrustful. 
After all, I cannot help thinking that your nature 
would prove itself more useful in a truly German 
cause, here in Europe, than over there particularly 
as the wife of Dr. Forster, who, as I thought once 
more on reading his Essay on Education, would really 
find his natural mission as a Director of Education 
at a place like Schnepfenthal 1 and not (forgive your 
brother for saying so) as an agitator in that anti- 
Semitic movement which is three-quarters rotten. The 
things most urgently needed in Germany at present 
are precisely independent Educational Institutions, 
which would actively compete ivith the slave-drilling 
education of the State. The confidence that Dr. Fors- 

*A kind of religious school. Translator. 



180 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

ter enjoys vis-a-vis the nobility of northern Germany, 
would seem to be a sufficient guarantee that a sort 
of Schnepfenthal or Hofwyl (do you remember? 
the place where Vischer was educated), would suc 
ceed under his direction. But right out there, among 
peasants, in close proximity to Germans, who have 
become impossible, and are probably embittered and 
poisoned at heart enough, what a wide field this 
provides for worry and anxiety ! The big stupid ocean 
between us! and whenever, here, we get news of a 
hurricane, your brother grows angry and agitated, 
and cudgels his brains to discover how on earth it 
ever occurred to the Lama to embark upon such an 
adventure. I do the best I can to bear up, but every 
day, and more particularly at night, I am overcome 
by incomparable sadness always, simply owing to 
the fact that the Lama has run away and has com 
pletely broken with her brother s tradition. 

I have just heard from the Court Orchestra Con 
ductor of Carlsruhe (to whom I had written a line 
to please poor G.) that my recommendation ("the rec 
ommendation of a man whom I admire enthusiastical 
ly") had prepossessed him most favourably towards 
the work, and while I am rejoicing over this news, it 
occurs to me that you will say, "He is of course a 
Jew!" 1 This, in my opinion, proves how the Lama 
has leaped aside from her brother s tradition : we no 
longer rejoice about the same things. Meanwhile it 
cannot be helped. Life is an experiment ; one can do 
what one likes, and one has to pay too dearly for 



This was a mistake." Note by Frau F.N. 



PRIEDEICH NIETZSCHE 181 

everything. Onward, my dear old Lama ! And may 
you face what you have resolved to face, with cour 
age! 

YOUR F. 

NIETZSCHE TO His SISTER. 

Sils-Maria, July 8, 1886. 
MY DARLING LAMA : 

I have ceased to be in favour of the idea of living 
for good in Leipzig or Munich; life in such circles 
demands too heavy a toll on my pride ; and after all, 
however much I "belittle" myself, I still do not at 
tain to that cheerful and comforting courage and self- 
reliance which are necessary for the continued pur 
suit of my path in life attributes which at all events 
spring into existence more readily in Sils and in 
Nice than in the places above mentioned. How many 
humiliations and acts of foolishness did I not have 
to swallow down during my last stay in Germany, and 
without my friends ever dreaming of anything of the 
sort! No they one and all "mean well" by me. I 
endured hours of spiritual depression that I can re 
member only with a shudder. The humiliating experi 
ences of the autumn of 1882, which I had almost for 
gotten, came back to my mind, and I recollected with 
shame the type of humanity I had already treated as 
my equal! Wherever I turned I was confronted by 
opinions utterly opposed to my own to my great as 
tonishment, however, not about Wagner. Even Kohde 
has refused to have anything to do with Parsifal. 

Where are those old friends with whom in years 
gone by I felt so closely united? Now it seems as 



182 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

if we belonged to different worlds, and no longer 
spoke the same language! Like a stranger and an 
outcast, I move among them not one of their words 
or looks reaches me any longer. I am dumb for no 
one understands my speech ah, but they never did 
understand me ! or does the same fate bear the same 
burden on its soul? It is terrible to be condemned to 
silence when one has so much to say [...] 
Was I made for solitude or for a life in which there 
was no one to whom I could speak? The inability 
to communicate one s thoughts is in very truth the 
most terrible of all kinds of loneliness. Difference 
is a mask which is more ironbound than any iron 
mask and perfect friendship is possible only inter 
pares! Inter pares! 1 an intoxicating word; it con 
tains so much comfort, hope, savour, and blessedness 
for him who is necessarily always alone ; for him who 
is "different"; who has never met anyone who pre 
cisely belonged to him, although he has sought well 
on all >orts of roads; who in his relationship to his 
fellows always had to practise a sort of considerate 
and cheerful dissimulation in the hope of assimilating 
himself to them, often with success, who from all too 
long experience knows how to show that bright face 
to adversity which is called sociability and some 
times, too, to give vent to those dangerous, heart 
rending outbursts of all his concealed misery, of all 
the longings he has not yet stifled, of all his surging 
and tumultuous streams of love the sudden madness 
of those moments when the lonely man embraces one 



1 Amongst equals. Translator. 



FBIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 183 

that seems to his taste and treats him as a friend, 
as a Heaven-sent blessing and precious gift, only to 
thrust him from him with loathing an hour later, and 
with loathing too for himself, as if he had been con 
taminated and abased, as if he had grown strange even 
to himself, as if he had fallen from his own company. 
A deep man needs friends. All else failing, he has 
at least his god. But I have neither god nor friends ! 
Ah, my dear sister, those you call by that name were 
certainly friends once but now? For instance 

[...]. 

. . . Now I ought once more to give myself a 
little rest, for the spiritual and intellectual tension 
of the last few years has been too severe, and my 
temper has grown sharper and more gloomy. My 
health is really quite normal but my poor soul is so 
sensitive to injury and so full of longing for good 
friends, for people "who are my life." Get me a small 
circle of men who will listen to me and understand 

me and I shall be cured! 

Your FRITZ. 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

DEAE FEIEND : ^ ^^ Tuesday, July 20, 1886. 
. . . Assuming that you prefer a solitary visit 
to the places in question, allow me to send a few ad 
dresses where you can find cheap quarters. In Ra- 
pallo, for instance (whence you will be able to ex 
plore Santa Margherita and Portofino) I would rec 
ommend the cheap little Albergo della Posta, right 
on the sea-front, in which the first part of Zarathustra 
was written. Oh what a joy it would be for me to 



184 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

be allowed to act as cicerone to you there and in 
Genoa and you would have to try all my modest 
trattorias! And we would climb about the gloomy 
bastions together and drink a glass of Monteferrato 
on my Belvedere in Sampierdorena ! Honestly, I can 
think of nothing that would give me so much pleas 
ure. This bit of Genoa is a piece of my past towards 
which I feel respect ... it was terribly solitary 
and severe. . . . 

I have not quite settled down yet here in Sils ; these 
sudden transitions do not suit my health. The print 
ing of my book is oppressing me to the extent of be 
coming irksome. I shall have complete freedom (and 
leave to think of something new) only when I see the 
first finished copy that is to say, in three weeks per 
haps. I had to make fresh plans for the fourth page 
of the wrapper ( I trust the agreement between 
Schmeitzner and Fritzsch will soon be concluded, pro 
vided that Schmeitzner never hears to what extent 
I am informed as to Fritzsch s intentions. ) 

How funny! However well one tries to beware of 
the emancipation of women it is of no use! I have 
encountered another classical specimen of the literary 
female, Miss Helen Zinimern (the woman who intro 
duced Schopenhauer to the English.) I believe she 
has even translated "Schopenhauer as an Educator." 
Of course she is a Jewess; it is amazing to see the 
extent to which this race now has the spirituality of 
Europe in its hands (to-day she talked to me for a 
long time about her race). . . . 

Your friend, 
N. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 185 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

About 400 metres above the sea, overlooking the 
street leading across the arch of Portofino. 

Euta Ligure, October 10, 1886, 
DEAR FRIEND: 

Just a line from this wonderful corner of the globe, 
where I should prefer to see you rather than in your 
present quarters in Munich. Imagine an island of 
the Greek Archipelago, arbitrarily covered with woods 
and hills, which owing to some accident one day swam 
close up to the mainland and was unable to swim 
back again. There is certainly something Greek about 
it; while it is also somewhat piratical, unexpected, 
covert, and dangerous in character. Finally when 
at a bend in the road one comes upon a little tropical 
forest of palms, which makes one feel very far from 
Europe, it is a little reminiscent of Brazil at least, 
that is what my table-companion says, and he has 
been round the world several times. I have never 
lived so long in genuine Robinson Crusoe insularity 
and oblivion. Frequently too I have set great fires 
burning in front of me. To watch the pure restless 
flame, with its white-grey belly, rear itself against 
the cloudless sky with heather growing all round, 
and the whole steeped in that October blissfulness 
which is such a master in the matter of yellows. Oh, 
dear friend, such early autumn happiness would be 
just the thing for you, as much if not more than it 
is for me! ... 

Your devoted friend, 

NIETZSCHE. 



186 SELECTED LETTEBS OF 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Nice (France), January 21, 1887, 
Rue des Poncbettes 29. Au premier. 

DEAR FRIEND: 

. . . Ever since the spring of last year, Levi 1 
has made the best impression upon me. What I have 
since heard from another quarter, in Munich, has con 
firmed the fact that he has neither lost nor wishes to 
lose a kind of relationship with me (he calls it grati 
tude) ; and this holds good of all Wagnerians (al 
though I cannot quite explain it). Seydlitz (now 
President of the Wagner Society) informs me that 
they waited for me in Munich last autumn with "fev 
erish tension." Incidentally, in the Engadine, my 
neighbour at table was the sister of the Barber of 
Bagdad; do you understand this abbreviated expres 
sion? 

To conclude I have just heard the Overture to 
Parsifal for the first time (and in Monte Carlo!). 
When I see you again I will tell you exactly what 
it conveyed to me. Moreover, apart from all irrele 
vant questions (as to what the use of this music can 
or ought to be) and on purely aesthetic grounds; has 
Wagner ever done anything better? This music re 
veals the very highest psychological consciousness and 
certainty with regard to what it intended to say, ex 
press, convey ; it selects the shortest and most direct 
means to this end, every nuance of feeling being car 
ried to the point of epigram. As descriptive music it 



Hermann Levi, Conductor of the Court Chapel at Munich. 



FKIEDKICH NIETZSCHE 187 

is so lucid, that to listen to it is to be forcibly re 
minded of a shield wrought all over with noble de 
vices, and finally it is full of such a sublimity and 
rarity of feeling, of experience and of spiritual 
events at the very basis of music, that it does Wagner 
the greatest credit; it contains a synthesis of states 
which to many men, even "higher men," it would seem 
impossible to unite, and is of a commanding sever 
ity, of a "loftiness" in the most terrifying sense of 
the word, and of an omniscience and penetration that 
seem to transpierce one s soul with knives and with 
al it is full of pity for that which it sees and orders 
there. This sort of thing is to be found in Dante, 
but nowhere else. I wonder whether any painter 
has ever depicted such a sad look of love as Wagner 
has given us in the last accents of his overture? 

Your devoted friend, 

NIETZSCHE. 



To SEYDLITZ. 

Nice, Thursday, February 24, 1887. 

Rue des Ponchettes 29. 1st floor. 
DEAR FRIEND: 

Fortunately your letter, as far as your own case is 
concerned, did not by any means prove quod erat dem 
onstrandum; otherwise, however, I admit all you say, 
the disastrous effects of a grey sky, the prolonged 
damp cold, the proximity of Bavarians and of Bavar 
ian beer I admire every artist who turns to face 
these foes not to speak of German politics, which 



188 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

are only another form of permanent winter and bad 
weather. It seems to me that Germany for the last 
fifteen years has become a regular school of besotment. 
Water, rubbish and filth, far and wide that is what 
it looks like from a distance. I beg a thousand par 
dons if I have hurt your more noble feelings in speak 
ing in this way, but for present-day Germany, how 
ever much it may bristle, hedgehoglike, with arms, 
I no longer have any respect. It represents the stupi 
dest, most depraved and most mendacious form of the 
German spirit that has ever existed and what ab 
surdities has not this spirit dared to perpetrate! I 
forgive no one for compromising with it in any way, 
even if his name be Richard Wagner, particularly 
when this compromise is effected in the shamefully 
equivocal and cautious manner in which this shrewd, 
all-too-shrewd glorifier of "reine Thorheit" 1 has ef 
fected it in the latter years of his life. 

Here in our land of sunshine what different things 
we have in mind! Only a moment ago Nice was in 
the middle of her long international carnival (inci 
dentally with a preponderance of Spanish women) 
and immediately after it was over, six hours after 
the last Girandola, there followed some more new and 
rarely tasted charms of existence. For we are all 
living in the interesting expectation of being swal 
lowed up thanks to a well-meaning earthquake, 
which caused howling far and wide not only among 
dogs. You can imagine what fun it is to hear the 



"Pure foolishness." This is a reference to Wagner s 
Parsifal. See my note on the "Pure Fool," page 96, of The Will 
to Power, Vol. I. Translator. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 189 

houses rattling over one s head like coffee-mills, to 
watch the inkstands beginning to show signs of free 
will, while the streets fill with horrified half-dressed 
figures and unhinged nervous systems. This morning, 
from about two to three o clock, like the gaillard I 
am, I made a round of inspection in the various quar 
ters of the town, in order to ascertain where the fear 
was greatest. For the inhabitants camp out in the 
open night and day, and it looks delightfully martial. 
In the hotels where there is much damage, panic of 
course reigns supreme. I found all my friends, male 
and female, lying pitifully beneath the green trees, 
well swathed in flannels, for it was very cold, and, 
at the slightest sign of a vibration, thinking gloomily 
of the end. I should not be surprised if this brought 
the season to a sudden conclusion. Everyone is think 
ing of leaving (provided of course they can get away 
and the railways are not all torn up). Already yes 
terday evening the visitors at the hotel where I board 
could not be induced to partake of their table-d hote 
inside the house, but ate and drank in the open, and 
but for an exceedingly pious old woman who is con 
vinced that the Almighty has absolutely no right to 
injure her, I was "the only cheerful being among a 
host of masks." 1 

I have just got hold of a newspaper containing a 
description of this awful night, which is far more 
picturesque than the one your humble friend has been 



" Unter Larven die einzige Fiihlende Brust." These words 
are a quotation from a well-known poem of Schiller s conveying 
the idea of a jolly fellow being alone amongst a lot of wooden 
creatures. Translator. 



190 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

able to give you. I am enclosing it in this letter. 
Please read it to your dear wife, and bear me in 
mind. 

Your devoted 
NIETZSCHE. 



NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Nice, Monday, March 7, 1887. 

DEAR FRIEND : 

I have just had a visit from a philologist whose 
previous history has not been unlike my own a Dr. 
A., brought up in the school of Rohde and von Gut- 
schmidt and very much esteemed by his teachers but 
passionately disgusted with and opposed to all philo 
logy. He fled to me "his master" for he is deter 
mined to devote himself absolutely to philosophy, and 
now I am urging him to go slowly, quite slowly, to 
make no blunders, and not to allow himself to be 
carried away by any false examples. I believe I am 
succeeding in "disappointing" him. I heard inciden 
tally from him, how even in the University of Tubin 
gen, where I pass for the most negative of spirits, my 
works are eagerly devoured in secret. Dr. A. is half 
American, half Swabian. 

The same thing happened to me with Dostoiewsky 
as with Stendhal; the most haphazard encounter, a 
book that one opens casually on a book stall, and the 
very title of which is unknown to one and then sud- 



FKIEDKICH NIETZSCHE 191 

denly one s instinct speaks and one knows one has 
met a kinsman. 1 

Up to the present I have learnt little concerning his 
position, his reputation and his history; he died in 
1881. In his youth things were pretty bad with him ; 
he was delicate and poor, although he came of distin 
guished stock. At the age of twenty-seven he was 
sentenced to death, but was reprieved on the very 
steps of the scaffold, whereupon he spent four years 
in chains in Siberia amid criminals of the worst type. 
This formed the decisive period in his life. It was 
then that he discovered the power of his psychological 
intuition; nay more, his heart was mellowed and 
deepened by the experience. His reminiscences of this 
period "La maison des Morts," is one of the most 
human books in existence. The first of his works 
that I read was a French translation entitled "L es- 
prit souterrain," consisting of two stories: the first a 
kind of unknown music, and the second a real stroke 
of genius in psychology a terrible and cruel piece of 
mockery levelled at yvcodi acnrcov, 2 but done with 
such a light and daring hand, and with so much 



Speaking of Dostoiewsky, in a letter to Cast dated 13th 
Feb., 1887, Nietzsche says: "Do you know Dostoiewsky? "V^ith 
the exception of Stendhal, no one has given me so much pleas 
ure and astonishment: a psychologist whom I agree with." 
Cast s comment on this is as follows: "Nietzsche s high appre 
ciation of D. has been greatly misunderstood, as if N. had 
discovered similar lines in Dostoiewsky as in himself. This, 
however, is not the case. What N. admired in D. was his in 
sight into the depths of certain human souls, his art and the 
subtlety of his analysis, and the collection of rare psychological 
material. N. felt that D. instructed him and enriched him as a 
psychologist, otherwise D. was repellent to his instincts." 
Translator. 

"Know yourself." 



192 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

of the rapture of superior strength, that I was almost 
intoxicated with joy. Meanwhile, on the recom 
mendation of Overbeck, whom I asked about the 
matter, I have read "Humilies et offenses" (the only 
one that O. knew) with the greatest respect for the 
artist Dostoiewsky. I have also observed how com 
pletely the youngest generation of Parisian novelists 
are tyrannized over by the influence of Dostoiewsky, 
and by their jealousy of him (Paul Bourget, for in 
stance). 

I shall stay here until April 3, without, I trust, 
seeing any more of the earthquake. For Dr. Falb is 
warning people to beware of March 9, when he ex 
pects a renewal of the phenomena in our district ; he 
also mentions March 22 and 23. Up till now I have 
remained fairly cool, and have lived with a feeling of 
irony and cold curiosity among thousands of people 
grown crazy with fear. But one cannot stand se 
curity for oneself and perhaps in a few days I shall be 
less rational than anyone. The element of sudden 
ness, I imprevu, has its charm. . . . 

How are you? You cannot think what a lot of 
good your last letter did me ! You are so brave ! 

Your devoted friend, 
N. 

NIETZSCHE TO His SISTER. 

Nice, Wednesday, March 23, 1887. 
MY DEAR LAMA : 

It is now difficult to help nie. When one has been 
at great pains for half one s life to secure independ- 



FEIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 193 

ence for one s self, as I found it necessary to do, one 
has to accept the disadvantages of the situation as 
well. One cannot have the one without the other. 
Among these disadvantages is the fact that no one 
can tell from appearances what are the things I lack. 
I should like to have a little more money in order, 
for instance, that in the interests of my declining 
health, alone, and with the view of avoiding innumer 
able mistakes in dieting that I am exposed to in res 
taurants and hotels, I might have my own kitchen. It 
is also a question of pride; I should like to lead a 
life that really is suitable to me, and does not look 
so conventional as that of "a scholar on his travels." 
But even the five conditions that might make life en 
durable, and are really not pretentious, seem to me 
impracticable. I require (1) Some one to superin 
tend my digestion, (2) Somebody who can laugh with 
me and who has cheerful spirits, (3) Some one who 
is proud of my company and who constrains others 
to treat me with becoming respect, (4) Some one who 
can read aloud to me without making a book sound 
idiotic. There is yet a fifth condition; but I will 
say nothing about it. 

To marry now would perhaps be simply an act of 
folly, which would immediately deprive me of the in 
dependence that I have won with such bloody strife. 
And then I should also have to choose some European 
State, to belong to and become a citizen of it. I 
should have to consider my wife, my child, my wife s 
family, the place I lived in, and the people we as 
sociated with, but to forbid myself the free expres 
sion of my ideas would kill me. I should prefer to be 



194 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

miserable, ill, and feared, and live in some out of the 
way corner, than to be "settled" and given my place 
in modern mediocrity! I lack neither courage nor 
good spirits. Both have remained with me because 
I have no acts of cowardice or false compromise on 
my conscience. Incidentally I may say that I have 
not yet found a woman who would be suited to asso 
ciate with me, and whose presence would not bore 
me and make me nervous. (The Lama was a good 
housemate for whom I can find no substitute, but it 
wanted to vent its energy and to sacrifice itself. For 
whom? For a miserable foreign race of men, who will 
not even thank her and not for me. And I would 
be such a grateful animal, and always ready for merry 
laughter. Are you still able to laugh at all? I am 
afraid that you will quite forget how to do it among 
these embittered people. ) Moreover I know the women 
folk of half Europe, and wherever I have observed 
the influence of women on men, I have noticed a sort 
of gradual decline as the result; for instance in the 

case of poor . Not very encouraging is it? 

I shall leave Nice at the beginning of next month 
in order to seek peaceful retirement on Lake Mag- 
giore, where there are woods and shaded groves, and 
not this blindingly white incessant sunshine of Nice 
in the spring ! The address is : Villa Badia, Cannobio 
(Lago Maggiore), but before this letter reaches you 
who knows where I shall be? 

With love, 
Your F. 



FBIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 195 

NIETZSCHE TO His SISTER. 
Cannobio, Lago Maggiore, Villa Badia, 

April 20, 1887. 
MY DEAR LAMA : 

Here I am in a magnificent spot, and every morn 
ing I marvel at the glory of the colouring. The noble 
cloisterly nature of the situation and the arrange 
ments also pleases me and yet I am so out of sorts 
that I feel as if I could no longer be heartily glad 
about anything. Nothing comes to me from the out 
side world to give me courage or strength. My fel 
low-boarders are incomparably tedious! In that re 
spect I was better off in Nice this winter. There 
were a few people there who interested me. Our dear 
mother will have written to you all about it. 

And now about yourself, my dear Lama! I was 
very much impressed by the purchase of this huge 
piece of land, "larger than many a German princi 
pality." But I must confess that I am absolutely at 
sea about the whole affair. If I understand anything 
at all, it is that the real owner of that vast complex 
of territory is that rich Paraguayan who is so friendly 
with Forster. This would not prevent him from wish 
ing to serve his own interests by means of this "Ger 
man colony." He is certainly bent on turning it to 
his own profit. Now the principal thing to me seems 
to be, not that the colony should be inhabited, but 
that it should do some business, sell wood, etc. For 
without that I absolutely cannot see how such a great 
outlay of capital can get its proper return. 

Forster promised to invest a portion of your money 
securely either in Germany or in Paraguay; but, if 



196 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

I know my sister well, this last portion will certainly 
find its way before long into the pockets of those 
numerous paupers. 1 I confess that they are my one 
bugbear; remember that if anything goes wrong they 
constitute a most unpleasant element with which to 
deal. Then they always believe that one has unjustly 
led them into trouble; whereas success and failure 
often depend on accidents. To tell you the truth, my 
dear Lama, your letters do not comfort me in the 
least. If we were situated as you are we should all 
write such contented and hopeful letters home par 
ticularly to relatives. I have not written to you about 
it yet; but I am not edified by the whole affair. In 
my mind s eye, I can see these paupers, dependent 
upon your pity, pressing themselves covetously upon 
you in order to exploit your all too ready liberality. 
No colony can prosper with such elements ; do not de 
ceive yourself on that point. If they were peasants 
it would be quite a different thing. 

Also please allow me to question whether you are 
so well fitted for colonizing as my brother-in-law so 
often affirms. Not long ago I was talking to one of 
jour former friends and he declared that we did not 
even know what colonizing meant. It was an inces 
sant struggle with the elements . . . and you 
were as well fitted for it as "lily and rose-branches 
would be for sweeping a chimney." A fine simile! 
but very sad for the Lama. Forgive this sad letter, 
but mother s anxiety on your account has infected me 
also. I believe she is feeling ill as the result of bad 



Amongst the so-called colonists there were numbers of peo 
ple who had lost everything. Translator. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 197 

German weather; but the Lama in the atmosphere 
and the sun of the South holds her head up. 

With love and solicitude, 

YOUR BROTHER. 



NIETZSCHE TO MALVIDA VON MEYSENBUG. 

[May 12, 1887] 

Address: Chur (Schweiz) Rosenhtigel 

Until June 10 
afterwards : Celerina, Oberengadine. 

DEAREST FRAULEIN : 

How strange it is! With regard to what you so 
kindly said to me at the last moment, I wonder 
whether it might not prove both refreshing and fruit 
ful for us both once more to join our two solitudes 
in closest and heartiest proximity! I have frequently 
thought about this of late, and asked myself searching 
questions about it. To spend one more winter with 
you and to be looked after and waited upon perhaps 
by Trina 1 herself that is indeed an extremely allur 
ing prospect for which I cannot thank you suffi 
ciently! I should prefer above all to return to Sor 
rento once more (5ig xal TQig to xodov say the 
Greeks: "all good things twice or thrice!") Or to 
Capri where I shall play the piano to you again 
but better than I did before ! Or to Amalfl or Castel- 
lamare. Finally even to Rome (although my sus- 

l The chambermaid of Frl. v. Meysenbug. Translator. 



198 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

picion of the Roman climate and of large towns in 
general is based on good reasons and is not to be over 
thrown so easily ) . Solitude in the midst of solitary 
nature has hitherto been my chief refreshment, my 
means of recovery; such cities of modern traffic as 
Nice or even Zurich (which I have just left) in the 
end always make me feel irritable, sad, uncertain, 
desperate, unproductive, and ill. I have retained a 
sort of longing and superstition with regard to that 
peaceful sojourn down there, as if there I had 
breathed more deeply, if only for a few moments, than 
anywhere else in my life. For instance, on the occa 
sion of that very first drive we took together in Naples 
when we went to Posilippo. 

Taking everything into consideration, you are the 
only person on earth about whom I could cherish such 
a wish; besides, I feel that I am condemned to my 
solitude and my citadel. There is no longer any al 
ternative. That which bids me live, my exceptional 
and weighty task, bids me also keep out of the way of 
men and no longer attach myself to anyone. Perhaps 
it is the pure element in which this task has placed 
me that explains why it is that I have gradually 
grown unable even to bear the smell of men and least 
of all "young men," with whom I am not infrequently 
afflicted ( oh, how obtrusively clumsy they are, just 
like puppies!) In the old days, in our solitude in 
Sorrento, B. and R. were too much for me; I fancy 
that at that time I was very reticent with you 
even about things of which there is no one I should 
have spoken to more readily than yourself. 

On my table there lies the new edition (in two vol-. 



PKIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 199 

umes) of "Human-all- too-Human," the first part of 
which I worked out then how strange ! Strange that 
it should have been in your respected neighbourhood. 
In the long "address" which I found a necessary pre 
face for the new edition of my complete works there 
are a number of curious things about myself which 
are quite uncompromising in their honesty. By this 
means I shall hold "the many" once and for all at 
arm s length; for nothing annoys men more than to 
show them some of the severity and hardness with 
which, under the discipline of one s own ideal, one 
deals and has dealt out to oneself. That is why I have 
cast my line out for "the few," and this after all I did 
without impatience, for it is in the nature of the 
indescribable strangeness and dangerousness of my 
thoughts that ears should not be opened for them 
until very late certainly not before 1901. 

You ask me to come to Versailles oh, if only it 
were possible ! For I esteem the circle of men that you 
meet there (a curious admission for a German, but 
in present-day Europe I feel related only to the most 
intellectual among the French and Russians, and in 
no way whatever to my countrymen who judge all 
things on the principle of "Germany, Germany above 
all"). But I must return to the cold air of the 
Engadine; spring attacks me unconsciously; I dare 
not tell you into what abysses of despair I sink un 
der its influence. My body (and my philosophy, too, 
for that matter), feels the cold to be its appointed 
preservative element that sounds paradoxical and 
negative, but it is the most thoroughly demonstrated 
fact of my life. 



200 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

This is by no means a sign of a "cold nature": 
but you, of course, understand that, my most dear and 
faithful friend! 

Always your affectionate and grateful friend, 

NIETZSCHE. 

P. S. Friiulein Salome has also informed me of her 
engagement, but I did not answer her either, however 
much happiness and prosperity I may honestly wish 
her. One must keep out of the way of the kind of 
creature who does not understand aw r e and respect. 



To ROHDE. 

Chur, May 21, 1887. 

No, my old friend Rohde, I allow no one to speak 
so disrespectfully of Monsieur Taine as you do in 
your letter and you least of all, because it is con 
trary to all decency to treat any man in the way you 
do, when you know I think highly of him. If you 
choose to do so you may, if you like, talk nonsense 
about me to your heart s content that lies in the 
natura rerum 1 ; I have never complained about it or 
ever expected anything else. But in regard to a 
scholar like Taine w r ho is more akin to your own 
species, you ought to have eyes in your head. To 
call him "jejune" is, to return to our student s jargon, 
simply frantically stupid for he happens to be the 
most substantial thinker in present-day France; and 
in this connection it would not be inopportune to re 
mark that where a man can detect no substance it 



"The nature of things. Translator. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 201 

does not necessarily follow there is none, but simply 
that there is none for him. In the harrowing history 
of the modern soul, which is in many respects a tragic 
history, Taine takes his place as a well-constituted 
and venerable type possessing many of the noblest 
qualities of this soul its reckless courage, its abso 
lutely sincere intellectual conscience, its stirring and 
modest stoicism amid acute privations and isolation. 
With such qualities a thinker deserves respect; he 
belongs to the few who immortalize their age. I enjoy 
the sight of such a brave pessimist who does his duty 
patiently and resolutely without any need of noise or 
stage effect aye, and who can honestly say of him 
self : "satis sunt mihi pauci, satis est unus, satis est 
nullus". 1 In this way, whether he wishes it or no, his 
life becomes a mission, his attitude to all his problems 
is an inevitable one (and not the optional or acciden 
tal one that your own and most philologists are to 
philology). 

No offence, I hope. But if I knew you only by 
this one remark of yours about Taine I believe that, 
owing to the lack of instinct and tact it reveals, I 
should thoroughly despise you. Fortunately, how 
ever, as far as I am concerned, you have proved your 
self a man in other ways. 

But you really ought to hear Burckhardt speak 
about Taine. 

Your friend, 

N. 

a "A few are sufficient for me; one is sufficient, and even 
none." Seneca Epist. Morales, 7-11. Translator. 



202 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

TO ROHDE. 

Chur, May 23, 1887. 
DEAR FRIEND: 

It was not nice of me to have yielded suddenly as I 
did yesterday to a fit of anger against you, but it is at 
least a good thing that it has all come out, for it has 
brought me something valuable in the form of your 
letter. This has relieved me immensely and given a 
different direction to my feelings against you. 

Your remark about Taine seemed to me extrava 
gantly contemptuous and ironical, and the part of me 
that revolted against it was the anchorite. For this 
part in me knows from an all too rich experience with 
what unrelenting coldness all those who live off the 
beaten track are dismissed and even dispatched. In 
addition to this, with the exception of Burckhardt, 
Taine is the only man who for many a long year has 
sent me a word of encouragement and sympathy about 
my writings. For the moment I even think of him and 
Burckhardt as my only readers. As three fundamen 
tal nihilists we are indeed irrevocably bound one to 
another, although, as you may perhaps suspect, I 
have not yet abandoned all hope of finding a way out 
of the abyss by means of which we can arrive at 
"something." 

When a man keeps digging deep down in his own 
mine, he becomes "subterranean" or perhaps sus 
picious. It spoils his character hence my last let 
ter. Take me as I am. 

Yours, 

N. 



FEIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 203 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Nice, Thursday. 
[November 3, 1887.] 
DEAR FRIEND : 

Huge rejoicing over the newly published, revised, 
and amplified dressing gown ! Oh, but how ashamed 
you make me feel ! For every day I felt the need of 
this article of clothing, especially in view of the win 
try weather we have been having this autumn, which 
is intensified by the northerly situation of my room 
which looks out on to the garden and is on the ground 
floor. Nevertheless, I did not dare to have my dress 
ing-gown sent here, because I remembered its dilapi 
dated condition much more out of keeping with Nice 
perhaps than with your more philosophical Venice. 
And I am not yet modest enough to show my pride 
by exhibiting my rags ! Ecco ! . . . . And now 
suddenly to sit so much embellished and so eminently 
respectable, in one s own room what a surprise! 

Everything seems to conspire to make this winter 
more acceptable to me than previous winters have 
been. For during previous winters I have been driven 
off my head not only from time to time, but con 
stantly, habitually (and into Heaven knows what 
possibly into the damnable writing of books and lit 
erature). I have just been to inspect the room that 
I shall occupy for the next six months ; it is just over 
the one I have had up till now, and yesterday it was 
freshly papered in accordance with my bad taste 
a reddish brown with stripes and speckles. Opposite 
to it at a sufficient distance away stands a building 



204 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

painted dark yellow, and above that, to exhilarate me 
even more, half the sky ( which is blue, blue, blue!) 
Below me lies a beautiful garden which is always 
green and which I can survey as I sit at my table. 
The floor of the room is covered with straw ; upon the 
straw lies an old carpet, and over that a beautiful 
new one. There are besides, a large round table, a 
well-upholstered settee, a book-case, the bed, covered 
with a dark blue counterpane, heavy brown curtains 
over the door, and one or two other things covered 
with bright red cloth (the wash-hand-stand and the 
coat-rack) in short a nice multi-coloured mixture, 
but on the whole warm and subdued. A stove is com 
ing from Naumburg, of the kind I have described to 
you. . . . 

Even my brother-in-law has been good enough to 
write to me; we both do our utmost to mitigate the 
somewhat strained relationship ( he writes about 
"Beyond Good and Evil", w T hich he had had sent out 
to him; I did not send it to him for very special rea 
sons). . . . 

Your devoted and grateful friend, 

NIETZSCHE. 



To ROHDE. 

Nice, November 11, 1887. 
DEAR FRIEND : 

I seem to feel as if I still had to make amends to 
you for something that happened last Spring. And to 
show you how perfectly willing I am to do all I can, 
I send you herewith a copy of a work I have just 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 205 

published (but, perhaps, I owe you this book any 
how, because it belongs inseparably to the one I sent 
last ). NO, do not let yourself be estranged from 
me too easily ! At my age, and lonely as I am, I do 
not feel any too eager to lose the few men who had 
my confidence in the past. 

Yours, 

N. 

N. B. About Monsieur Taine, let me beg you to 
recover your senses. The coarse things you say and 
think about him annoy me extremely. I would for 
give such behavior on the part of Prince Napoleon 1 
but not on the part of my friend Rohde. It would be 
difficult for me to believe that the man who misunder 
stands such severe and magnanimous spirits as Taine 
(who is the educator of all the serious scientific char 
acter in France today) could understand anything 
about my own mission. Honestly, you have never 
breathed a word to me that might lead me to sup 
pose that you kneiv anything of the destiny that hangs 
over me. But have I ever reproached you for this? 
Not once, even in my own heart, if only for the sim 
ple reason that I am not accustomed to any different 
treatment from anyone. Who has ever approached 
me with even a thousandth part of my passion and my 
suffering! Has anyone even an inkling of the real 
cause of my prolonged ill health over which I may 
even yet prevail? I am now forty-three and am just 
as much alone now as I was as a child. 



Joseph Charles Paul Napoleon, Prince, who in his book 
"Napol&m et ses detracteurs* (1887), also attacked Taine.- 
Translator. 



206 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Nice, November 24, 1887. 

DEAR FRIEND : 

I am enjoying a great blessing this morning: for 
the first time a "fire-idol" stands in my room : a small 
stove and I confess that I have already pranced 
round it once or twice like a good heathen. Until to 
day my life has been a blue-fingered frosty affair, on 
the basis of which not even my philosophy stood firmly 
on its legs. Things are pretty insufferable when in 
one s own room one can feel the frigid breath of 
death when one withdraws to one s room not as to a 
fastness, so to speak, but as if one were drawn back to 
prison. For the last ten days it has been simply pour 
ing: the rainfall per square metre has been reckoned 
at 208 litres. This October was the coldest I have 
ever had here, and this November the rainiest. Nice is 
still rather empty and yet twenty-five of us sit down 
to dinner every evening all of them kindly and well- 
meaning people, to whom no objection can be made 



. . . The fact that Rousseau was one of the first 
followers of Gluck gives me cause for reflection; for, 
as far as I at least am concerned, everything the 
former prized is a little suspicious, as are also all 
those who prized him (there is a whole family of 
Rousseau Schiller belongs to it, and so in part does 
Kant; in France, George Sand, and also Sainte- 
Beuve; in England, George Eliot, etc., etc.). All 
those who have been in need of "moral dignity" faute 
de mieux have been among the admirers of Rousseau, 



FBI ED RICH NIETZSCHE 207 

even down to our darling Diihring, who had the good 
taste to represent himself in his autobiography as 
the Rousseau of the 19th century. (Just observe how 
a man stands towards Voltaire and Rousseau: it 
makes all the difference in the world whether he says 
yea to the former or to the latter : Voltaire s enemies 
as, for instance, Victor Hugo, all romanticists, even 
the subtler latter-day sort such as the brothers Gon- 
court are all favourably disposed to that masked 
plebeian Rousseau. And I suspect that there is some 
thing of the resentment of the mob to be found at the 
bottom of all Romanticism.) Voltaire is magnifi 
cently intellectual canaille; but I agree with Galiani 
that 

"Un monstre gai vaut mieux 
qu un sentimental ennuyeux." 

Voltaire was only possible and tolerable on the soil 
of a noble culture that can allow itself the luxury of 
intellectual canaillerie. 

Observe with what warm feelings, what tolerance, 
my stove has already begun to permeate me ! 

I beseech you, dear friend, to be constantly mindful 
of this one duty ; you cannot avoid it : you must once 
more by word and deed elevate severer principles to a 
place of honour in rebus muxicis et musicantibus, 
and seduce the Germans to the paradox, which is a 
paradox only at the present day : that the severer prin 
ciples and more cheerful music are inseparable. 

Your devoted and grateful friend, 

N. 



208 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Nice. Pension de Geneve. 
December 20, 1887. 
DEAR FRIEND : 

. . . On all sides the chasm has become too 
great, and I have to have recourse to every possible 
kind of chastening influence in order not to descend 
among the men of resentment myself. The sort of 
defensive attitude towards me taken up by all those 
people who were once my friends has something an 
noying about it which is much more mortifying than 
an attack. "Not to hear and not to see" that seems 
to be the motto. No one made any response to the 
Hymn, except Brahms, and he wrote : " J. B. begs to 
present his sincerest thanks to you for what you have 
sent him, as also for the honour which he esteems it 
to be, and the great stimulus he derived from it. With 
his most respectful compliments, etc." 

Only two letters came about the book; but they at 
least were very fine. One was from Dr. Fuchs, and 
the other from Dr. George Brandes (the most in 
tellectual Dane of the day that is to say, a Jew). 
The latter seems inclined to take me up pretty thor 
oughly; he marvels at the "original spirit" that is 
exhaled by my works, and sums up their teaching in 
the term "aristocratic radicalism." That is well said 
and well conceived. Oh these Jews ! A few criticisms 
of my "Beyond Good and Evil," sent me by Nauman, 
show only ill-will : the words "ripe for the psychiater 
and pathologist" are meant to explain and censure my 
work at the same time. (Between ourselves, the un- 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 209 

dertaking I have in hand is so huge and so monstrous 
that I cannot take it amiss if people on reading my 
books should at times feel some doubt as to whether 
I am quite "sane.") . . . 

. . . I am industrious but melancholy, and I 
have not yet recovered from the state of vehement 
irritation into which the last few years have thrown 
me. I am not yet "sufficiently impersonalized." 
Nevertheless, I know what has been done, and done 
away with : all my previous life has been ruled off at 
this point that has been the meaning of the last few 
years. True, my existence hitherto has thus shown 
itself to be what it actually is a mere promise. The 
passion of my last work has something terrible about 
it. Yesterday I read it with the most profound aston 
ishment as though it were something new. 

Write to me, dear friend, and let me hear nothing 
but good news. 

Your devoted, 

N. 

To KARL Fuces. 

Nice (France), December 14, 1887. 

Pension de Geneve. 
MY DEAR FRIEND: 

It was a happy thought on your part to write me 
such a letter. For almost involuntarily and in pur 
suance of an inexorable necessity, I am just in the 
midst of calculating how I stand with men and things, 
and laying the whole of my past ad acta. Almost 
everything I am now doing amounts to an underlining 



210 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

of what has gone before. During the last few years 
the vehemence of my inner vibrations has been ter 
rific ; and now that I must ascend to a new and higher 
form, what I most of all need is a new estrangement, 
a still higher form of impersonalization. At the 
same time it is essential for me to know what and 
whom I can still regard as mine. 

How old am I already? I do not know, any more 
than I know how young I shall yet be. 

I look at your portrait with pleasure. It seems full 
of youth and courage, mingled, as is only becoming, 
with incipient wisdom (and white hair?). 

In Germany they are crying out aloud against my 
eccentricities. But, as they do not know where my 
centrum is, it is not easy for them to hit the nail on 
the head in their efforts to determine where and 
when I have been "eccentric" in the past. For instance 
in being a philologist I was out of my centrum (for 
tunately this does not by any means signify that I was 
a bad philologist). On the same principle, it now 
seems to me an eccentricity that I should ever have 
been a Wagnerite. It was an extremely dangerous 
experiment, and now that I know I have not been 
ruined by it I also realize what it has meant for 
me it was the severest test of character I could have 
had. It is certain that one s inmost nature gradually 
disciplines one s whole being into unity ; that passion 
for which for ages one can find no name saves us 
from all digressions and dispersions, that mission 
whose involuntary custodian we are. 

It is very difficult to understand such things from 
afar. And that is why the last ten years of my life 



FBIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 211 

have been extremely painful and violent. In the event 
of your being inclined to hear anything more about 
this ungodly and problematic history, let me recom 
mend to your friendly sympathy the new editions of 
my earlier works, particularly their introductions. 
(Incidentally, let me tell you that my publisher, the 
excellent E. W. Fritzsch of Leipzig, who has good 
reason for feeling desperate, is prepared to send copies 
of these new editions to anyone who promises to write 
a long article about "Nietzsche en bloc." The more 
important literary journals, such as Lindau s North 
and South are ripe for such an article, as a genuine 
feeling of anxiety and excitement is beginning to pre 
vail concerning the importance of my literature. Up 
to the present no one has had the courage and in- 
intelligence to reveal me to the dear Germans. My 
problems are new, the range of my psychological hor 
izon is terrific, my language is bold and German. 
Possibly there are no books in the German language 
richer in ideas or more independent than mine.) 

The hymn also belongs to this "underlining proc 
ess." Could you not get someone to sing it to you? 
I have already been promised its production in many 
quarters (for instance, Mottl in Karlsruhe). It is 
really intended to be sung "to my memory" one day. 
It will survive as a souvenir of me, provided, of course, 
that I survive. 

Do not forget me, dear doctor. I thank you from 
the bottom of my heart for wishing to remain my 
friend even in the second half of your century. 

Yours, 

NIETZSCHE. 



212 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

NIETZSCHE TO His SISTER. 

Nice, January 25. 1888. 
MY DEAR OLD LAMA : 

It was with great pleasure that I read my brother- 
in-law s pa?an on his "incomparable wife." I am 
proud of having brought you up only very few women 
would have overcome those extraordinary difficulties 
with such bravery and unassuming cheerfulness. But 
please let us have a little less modesty ! Do not forget 
that the herd insists on having picturesque people 
that is to say, people who draw pictures of their gifts, 
aspirations, and successes in such bold and obtrusive 
strokes that they can be grasped even by the dullest 
eyes. The herd honours everything in the nature of a 
pose, any solemn attitude, things from which we two 
are averse. Only subtle spirits understand the shame 
of the noble mind, that conceals its highest and its 
best beneath a plain surface. I feel certain that 
among all those people over there, only a few have 
any idea with what little regard for yourself and 
with what passionate resolution you try to realize 
your ideals. The only question I ask myself is are 
these ideals worthy of so much self-sacrifice? I very 
much fear you will yet have to overcome many bitter 
disappointments in your life. Ultimately you will be 
come a sceptical old woman without having lost 
your bravery; and you will be well suited to your 
sceptical brother. How we shall laugh then over the 
idealism of our youth possibly with tears. 

Now let me tell you a little experience I have had. 
As I was taking my usual walk yesterday, I suddenly 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 213 

heard some one talking and laughing heartily along a 
side path (it sounded almost as if it might have been 
you) ; and when this some one appeared before me, it 
turned out to be a charming brown-eyed girl, whose 
soft gaze, as she surveyed me, reminded me of a roe. 
Then, lonely philosopher though I am, my heart grew 
quite warm I thought of your marriage schemes, 
and for the whole of the rest of the walk I could not 
help thinking of the charming young girl. Certainly 
it would do me good to have something so graceful 
about me but would it do her good? Would my 
views not make her unhappy, and would it not break 
my heart (provided that I loved her) to make such a 
delightful creature suffer? No, let us not speak of 
marrying ! 

But what you were thinking of was rather a good 
comrade [...]. Do you really think that an 
emancipated woman of this sort, with all her femi 
ninity vanished, could be a good comrade, or could 
be tolerable as a wife at all? You forget that, in 
spite of my bad eyesight, I have a very highly devel 
oped sense of beauty ; and this, quite apart from the 
fact that such embittered women are repugnant to 
me and spoil my spirits and my whole atmosphere. 
Much intellect in a woman amounts to very little as 
far as I am concerned, for this so-called intellect, by 
which only the most superficial men are deceived, is 
nothing more than the most absurd pretentiousness. 
There is nothing more tiring than such an intellectual 
goose, who does not even know how tedious she is. 
Think of Frau O. ! But in this respect I must admit 
that Fraulein X. is incomparably more pleasant but, 



214 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

nevertheless! You think that love would change her; 
but I do not believe in any such change through 
"love." Besides, you have not seen her for many 
years it is obvious that she must have changed in 
the direction of ugliness and loss of womanliness. 
Believe me, if you were to see her now at her very 
appearance the thought of love and marriage would 
strike you, as it does me, as absurd. You can take 
my word for it, that for men like me, a marriage after 
the type of Goethe s would be the best of all that 
is to say, a marriage with a good housekeeper! But 
even this idea is repellent to me. A young and cheer 
ful daughter to whom I would be an object of rev 
erence would be much more to the point. The best of 
all, however, would be to have my good old Lama 
again. For a philosopher, a sister is an excellent 
philanthropic institution, particularly when she is 
bright, brave, and loving (no old vinegar flask like 
G. Keller s 1 sister), but as a rule one only recognizes 
such truths when it is too late. 

Well, this has been a nice chat on marriage with 
the Lama. With many hearty wishes and greetings 
to you and your Bernhard, your 



NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 
DEAR FRIEND : Mce > February 1, 1888. 

How close you have been to me all this time ! What 
a tremendous deal I have thought out both trash and 
wisdom with you always as the principal figure in 



This refers apparently to the great Swiss novelist Gott 
fried Keller. Translator. 



FBIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 215 

my mind ! There has been a fine opportunity : the last 
drawing in the Nice Lottery. For at least half an 
hour I allowed myself the small and foolish luxury of 
taking it for granted that I should win the first prize. 
With half a million it would be possible to reinstate a 
number of reasonable things on earth. At least you 
and I would regard the irrational character of our 
existence with more irony, with more detachment 
for, in order to do the things you and I do, and to do 
them quite well and divinely, one thing is fundamen 
tally necessary, Irony (well, then, for this is the way 
the world reasons half a million is the first prem 
ise of irony. . . . ) . 

To lack not only health, but also money, recogni 
tion, love, and protection and not to become a tragic 
grumbler: this constitutes the paradoxical character 
of our present condition, its problem. As for myself, 
I have got into a state of chronic vulnerability, 
against which, when my condition is slightly im 
proved, I take a sort of revenge which is not of the 
nicest description that is to say, I adopt an atti 
tude of excessive hardness. For a proof of this, look 
at my last work ! Still, I put up with all this with the 
sagacity of an old psychologist and without the small 
est moral indignation. Oh, how instructive it is to live 
in such an extreme state as mine ! Only now do I un 
derstand history ; never has my vision been more pro 
found than during the last few months. 

Dear friend, your physiological computation about 
the influence of Venice is perfectly right. In this 
place, where one is constantly hearing so many visi 
tors and invalids discuss the idiosyncrasies of the ef- 



216 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

fects of particular climates, I have gradually learned 
to grasp the cardinal truth of this question. In regard 
to the optimum, the realization of our most intimate 
wishes (our "works"), one must hearken to tMs voice 
of Nature; certain kinds of music can flourish no bet 
ter under a wet sky than can certain plants. The lady 
who is my neighbour at table has just told me that 
until two weeks ago she had been lying ill in Berlin, 
that she had caused the doctors there a great deal of 
anxiety, and that she was unable to walk from one 
corner of the street to the other. Now and she can 
not account for the change in her she runs, she eats, 
she is cheerful and can no longer believe that she 
has been ill. As the same thing has happened to her 
three times in her life, she now swears by a "dry cli 
mate" as a recipe for all spiritual ailments ( for she 
had suffered from a sort of desperate melancholia). 
The fact that for years you should have found the 
effect of the climate of Venice (as a contrast to the 
climate in which you were brought up) very good for 
you and a sort of balm oil that calmed you down, is 
quite correct : I have discussed this vital question with 
doctors in the Engadine : namely, that a climate when 
tried as a contrast for its stimulating effect that is to 
say when it is ordered only for a given period of time 
has exactly the opposite effect when it is lived in 
for good; and that the inhabitant of the Engadine, 
under the constant influence of this particular cli 
mate, becomes serious, phlegmatic, and a little 
anaemic, w T hile the visitor to this part of the world 
leaves it feeling braced and strengthened in all his 
bodily functions. Moral: You ought, therefore, to 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 217 

be (or have been) only a visitor to Venice. I am real 
ly sorry to have to say this and even to see it in the 
way I do ; for so much there is arranged and ordered 
in such a splendid and suitable way for you that you 
could not find the same anywhere else. You might 
try Corsica? I have been told that one can find board 
and lodging in the small hotels at Bastia for three 
to four francs a day. So many fugitives from all 
lands have lived in Corsica (particularly Italian 
scholars, etc. ) . The railway line from Bastia to Corte 
has just been opened (February 1, 1888). The great 
frugality of the Corsican mode of life and the sim 
plicity of their customs would make people like our 
selves feel quite at home there. And how far away 
from modernity one would feel there! Maybe the 
soul would grow stronger, purer, and prouder there 
. . . ( I can see quite clearly now that one would 
suffer less if one were prouder: you and I are not 
proud enough. . . .). 

Your affectionate and devoted friend, 

N. 

To SEYDLITZ. 

Nice, Pension de Geneve. 
February 12, 1888. 
DEAR FRIEND : 

It has not been a "proud silence" that has sealed 
my lips to everyone all this time, but rather the hum 
ble silence of a sufferer who was ashamed of betray 
ing the extent of his pain. When an animal is ill it 
crawls into its cave so does la bete philosophe. So 
seldom does a friendly voice come my way. I am now 



218 SELECTEDLETTERS OP 

alone, absurdly alone, and in mj unrelenting sub 
terranean war against all that mankind has hitherto 
honoured and loved ( my formula for this is "the 
Transvaluation of all Values") I myself seem unwit 
tingly to have become something of a cave, something 
concealed that can no longer be found even when it is 
a definite object of search. But no one goes in search 
of it. Between us three, it is not beyond the limits 
of possibility that I am the leading philosopher of the 
age aye, maybe a little more than that, something 
decisive and fateful that stands between two epochs. 
But a man is constantly paying for holding such an 
isolated position by an isolation which becomes every 
day more complete, more icy, and more cutting. And 
look at our dear Germans! . . . Although I am 
in my forty-fifth year and have published about fifteen 
books ( among them that non plus ultra "Zara- 
athustra") no one in Germany has yet succeeded in 
producing even a moderately good review of a single 
one of my works. They are now getting out of the 
difficulty with such words as "eccentric," "patholog 
ical," "psychiatric." There have been evil and slan 
derous hints enough about me, and in the papers both 
scholarly and unscholarly, the prevailing attitude is 
one of ungoverned animosity; but how is it that no 
one protests against this? How is it that no one feels 
insulted when I am abused? And all these years no 
comfort, no drop of human sympathy, not a breath 
of love. 

In these circumstances one has to live at Nice. This 
season it is again full of idlers, grecs and other phi 
losophers it is full of my like. And, with his own 



FRIEDEICH NIETZSCHE 219 

peculiar cynicism, God allows his sun to shine more 
brightly on us than on the more respectable Europe of 
Herr von Bismarck ( which with feverish virtue is 
working at its armaments, and looks for all the world 
like a heroic hedgehog) . The days seem to dawn here 
with unblushing beauty; never have we had a more 
beautiful winter. How I should like to send you some 
of the colouring of Nice ! It is all besprinkled with a 
glittering silver grey ; intellectual, highly intellectual 
colouring ; free from every vestige of the brutal ground 
tone. The advantage of this small stretch of coast 
between Alassio and Nice is the suggestion of Africa 
in the colouring, the vegetation, and the dryness of the 
air. This is not to be found in other parts of Europe. 
Oh, how gladly would I not sit with you and your 
dear wife beneath some Homeric Phseacien sky ! But 
I must not go further south ( my eyes will soon drive 
me to more northern and more stupid landscapes). 
Please let me know when you will be in Munich again 
and forgive this gloomy letter. 

Your devoted friend, NlETZSCHE . 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Nice, Pension de Geneve, 
DEAR FRIEND: February 26, 1888. 

The weather is sultry, it is Sunday afternoon, and I 
am very lonely. I can think of nothing more pleasant 
to do than to sit down and have a chat with you. I 
have just noticed that my fingers are blue, so my writ 
ing will be legible only to him who can guess my 
thoughts. . . . 



220 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

What you say in your letter about Wagner s style 
reminds me of an effusion of my own on the subject 
that I wrote somewhere, in which I say that his "dra 
matic style" is nothing more than a species of bad 
style, or rather, no style in music. But our musicians 
call this progress. ... As a matter of fact, in 
this domain of truth, everything still remains to be 
said aye! I very much suspect that everything still 
remains to be thought. Wagner himself, as a man, an 
animal, a god, and an artist rises a thousand miles 
above the understanding and the lack of understand 
ing of our Germans. Whether it is the same with the 
French I do not know. 

To-day I had the pleasure of being proved in the 
right over a question, which, in itself, might seem 
extraordinarily daring: to wit what man up to the 
present has been the best prepared for Wagner? 
Which of us was most adapted to Wagner and most 
Wagnerian inwardly in spite of and without Wagner? 
To this question I had for some considerable time 
replied by pointing to that odd three-quarter imbecile 
of a Baudelaire, the poet of Les Fleurs du Mai. I 
had deplored the fact that, during his lifetime, this 
man was so fundamentally related to Wagner in 
spirit ; I had marked the lines in his poems that were 
in any way redolent of Wagner s sensibility, to which 
no form has been given in the poetry of any other man 
(Baudelaire is a libertine, mystic, and satanic to 
boot ; but above all Wagnerian ) . And what do I find 
to-day? On turning over the leaves of the recently 
published (Euvres Posthumes of this author so highly 
esteemed and even beloved in France, lo and behold, 



FEIEDKICH NIETZSCHE 221 

in the midst of invaluable Psychologicis of decadence 
(mon coeur mis a nu, after the manner of those intro 
spective writings of Schopenhauer and Byron 1 that 
were burnt) what should I find but a hitherto unpub 
lished letter of Wagner s relating to one of Bau 
delaire s essays in the Revue Europeenne, April, 1861. 
Here is a copy of it : 

"My dear Monsieur Baudelaire, I have called upon 
you several times without finding you in. You will 
readily understand how anxious I am to tell you what 
a tremendous pleasure you gave me by your article 
that does me so much honour and gives me more en 
couragement than anything anyone else has said as 
yet about my poor talent. Would it not be possible 
for me before long to tell you in person how elated I 
felt at reading those beautiful pages that described 
to me after the manner of the finest poem the im 
pression I may boast of having made upon a mind so 
superior as yours? Thank you a thousand times for 
the kindness you have shown me, and, believe me, I 
am proud to be able to think of you as a friend. May 
we soon meet ! Yours, 

Richard Wagner." 2 

"By Moore and Murray. Translator. 

3 "Mon cher Monsieur Baudelaire, j etais plusieurs fois chez 

/ous sans vous trpuver. Vous croirez bien combien je suis de- 

sireux de vous dire quelle immense satisfaction vous m avez 

preparee par votre article qui m honore et m encourage plus 

que tout qu on a jamais dit sur mon pauvre talent. Ne serait- 

il pas possible de vous dire bientot, a haute voix, comment je 

nrai senti enivre en lisant ces belles pages qui me racontaient 

comme le fait le meilleur poeme les impressions que je me 

dois vanter d avoir produits sur une organisation si superieure 

que la votre? Soyez mille fois remercie de ce bienfait que vous 

m avez procure, et croyez moi bien fier de pouvoir vous nom- 

mer ami. A bientot n est-ce-pas? Tout a vous, Richard Wagner." 



222 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

[Wagner was then forty-eight years old and Bau 
delaire was forty. The letter is touching, although it 
is in such wretchedly bad French.] 

In the same book there are a few sketches by Bau 
delaire in which in a most passionate manner he de 
fends Heinrich Heine against French criticism ( Jules 
Janin). During the latter part of his life, when he 
was half mad and slowly declining, Wagner s music 
used to be played to him as a form of medicine: and 
even when Wagner s name was mentioned to him, "he 
smiled with joy". 1 

(If I am not mistaken, Wagner only wrote one 
other letter expressive of such gratitude and enthu 
siasm, and that was after the receipt of The Birth of 
Tragedy.) 

(Extract from one of Baudelaire s letters: "I 
dare not write any more about Wagner : people have 
made too much fun of me. This music has been one 
of the greatest joys of my life : for full fifteen years 
I have not experienced such feelings of elation, or 
rather ecstasy 2 "). 

How are you now, dear friend? I have vowed to 
take nothing seriously for a while. Even you are not 
to believe that I have once again written "literature" : 
this essay was for myself. Every winter now I in 
tend to write just such an essay for myself, the 
thought of getting it published is practically out of 
the question. . . . The Fritzsch has been settled 
by wire. Spitteler has written. It is not a bad letter. 



a souri d alUgresse. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 223 

and in it he apologises for his "impudence" (his own 
word). 1 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Nice, March 21, 1888. 
Pension de Geneve, Rue Rossini. 
DEAR FRIEND: 

. . . With regard to all the things you wrote to 
me on the last occasion in puncto Wagner, I was abso 
lutely delighted. You are the only man to-day who is 
able not only to feel such finesses of taste but also to 
substantiate them. Whereas I, on the other hand, am 
condemned to groping and feeling my way in my usual 
absurd manner. I no longer know anything, hear any 
thing, or read anything; and in spite of it all there 
is really nothing about which I am more concerned 
than the fate of music. 

I must not forget, however, that I have, as a mat 
ter of fact, heard three things by Offenbach (La 
Pericholle, La Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein, La 



Spitteler had published a review of Nietzsche s works in 
the "Bund" of Berne for the end of January, 1888. It was on 
the whole well meant, thought in regard to many points it re 
vealed misunderstandings. Nietzsche was pleased with the re 
view as such, although he did not conceal from the editor of 
the Bund the objections he had to it. When Spitteler heard of 
this, he laid the points in question before Nietzsche himself. 
.Originally Spitteler s essay dealt only with Nietzsche s earlier 
writings; when, however, Spitteler became acquainted with the 
other works he asked the editor of the Bund to return his re 
view which he then extended. This occurred a third time 
before the essay was finally published in January, 1888. ("Be 
yond Good and Evil" was never known to Spitteler, that is 
why it is not mentioned in his review.) This kind of imperfect 
acquaintance with and rapid discussion of an author s works 
seemed to Spitteler, particularly in regard to Nietzsche, even 
then a performance for which he felt he must apologize. 



224 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

Fille du Tambour Major) and was delighted. Four 
or five times in each work he attains to a height of the 
most wanton buffoonery, but always absolutely log 
ically in the form of classical taste and all the while 
he remains ever wonderfully Parisian! ... In 
addition, this favoured son of the gods has had the 
luck to get the cleverest of Frenchmen to write his 
librettos: Hale>y (who only a little while ago was 
made a member of the Academy as a reward for that 
stroke of genius La Belle Helene), Meilhac, and 
others. Offenbach s texts have something bewitching 
about them, and constitute perhaps the only instance 
of opera having operated in favour of poetry. . . . 

I must tell you of another remark of Seydlitz s, who, 
a few days ago, wrote to me from Egypt and will, on 
his return journey, possibly pay me a visit, together 
with his wife, his mother, his dogs, and his attend 
ants. Complaining of the Khamsin which is blowing 
there, he says : "It is like a brown symphony trans 
posed into meteorological terms it is ruthless, sandy, 
dry, incomprehensible, nerve-racking in fact a sort 
of sirocco ten times over." 

I have succeeded in doing something that will make 
you laugh : quite unsolicited, but with full knowledge 
that no one else would do anything for him, 1 I have 
procured a publisher for a thick volume of ^Esthetica 
by Spitteler. The firm is that of Veit and Co. (Her 
mann Credner of Leipzig, an "amateur" of my litera 
ture). 



Spitteler has since then become a European celebrity. 
He received the Nobel prize for 1921. Translator. 



FKIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 225 

I receive letters from Copenhagen frequently. 
They are always very intelligent, but constantly full 
of the signs of a life of suffering. Brandes is so thick 
in the fight, and so lonely, that he seems to be in need 
of someone to whom he can open his heart. . . . 

I have just been sent an intelligent and not unsym 
pathetic notice of my "Genealogy of Morals," that has 
appeared in the National Gazette. It came from the 
reviewer himself, P. Michael is, assistant preacher at 

the Cathedral of Bremen. "Nietzsche is rude, but 

j> 

Yours, 

NIETZSCHE. 

To SEYDLITZ. 

(Until June 5) Torino (Italia) ferma in posta. 

May 13, 1888. 
DEAR FRIEND: 

It seems to me improbable that you should have 
finally resigned yourself to be a mummy. Spring is 
come and once again you will be open to the charms of 
"the German Gemut" 1 and perhaps even to those of 
friendship. Your letter came as a comforting draught 
in the mid-winter of my discontent at Nice, of which, I 
regret to say, I gave you a not very estimable sample. 
With my departure from Nice, this time, my black 
spirits have left me and, miracle upon miracle, up 
to the present I have had a most cheerful spring, the 
first for ten or fifteen years, perhaps longer! The 
fact is, I have discovered Turin. . . . Turin is an 

. *A sort of sentimental yearning. Translator. 



226 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

unknown city, is it not? The "cultured" German goes 
past it. I, in my deliberate callousness to all the de 
mands of culture, have decided to make Turin my 
third place of residence, with Sils-Maria as the first 
and Nice as the second. Four months at each place: 
two months of spring and two of autumn in Turin. 
Strange! My reason for this decision is the air, the 
dry air, which is the same at all three places, and 
for the same meteorological reasons. Snow-capped 
mountains to the North and West ! Reckoning on this 
principle I came here, and am delighted. Even on very 
warm days and we have had many that famous 
Zephyr blows of which I had heard hitherto only from 
the poets (without believing them race of liars!). 
The nights are cool. One can see the snow from the 
very centre of the town. Besides which there are ex 
cellent theatres, Italian and French. Carmen was 
played, of course, in honour of my presence (successo 
piramidale excuse the allusion to Egypt!). An 
earnest, almost high-minded world of quiet streets 
lined with 18th century palaces very aristocratic! 
( I live opposite the Palazzo Carignano, an old palace 
belonging to the Ministry of Justice.) The height of 
open-air cafes, of ice-cream, of cioccolato Torinese! 1 
There are polyglot bookshops, a university, a good 
library, and the city is the headquarters of the General 
Staff. It is intersected by beautiful avenues, and on 
the banks of the Po there are incomparably beauti 
ful landscapes. It is by far the most pleasant, the 
cleanest, and the roomiest city in Italy, with the 

J The famous chocolate of Turin. Translator. 



FRIED RICH NIETZSCHE 227 

luxury of the portici 1 extending over a length of 
10,020 metres. North winds, so it seems, bring me 
cheerfulness, and just fancy, north winds reach me 
even from Denmark. Incidentally, this is the latest 
news Dr. George Brandes is now delivering an im 
portant course of lectures at the University of Copen 
hagen, on the German philosopher Friedrich Niet 
zsche! According to the papers these lectures are 
having the most brilliant success. The hall is full to 
overflowing each time ; more than three hundred peo 
ple present. 

I wonder how long it will take before my peripheral 
influences ( for I have adherents in North America 
and even in Italy) will react upon the beloved Father 
land? where with crafty seriousness I have been al 
lowed to go my way without so much as a protest being 
raised against me. . . . That is very philosophical 
and shrewd! 

By-the-bye, let me ask you a question. Has my pub 
lisher sent you my last essay, the Polemic, in proper 
style, "for your esteemed perusal"? 

Yesterday I thought out a picture, which, to borrow 
a phrase from Diderot, was of a moralite larmoyante. 
A winter landscape and in the middle an old coach 
man who, with a cynical expression on his face harder 
than the surrounding winter, is relieving nature 
against his horse s legs. The horse, a poor oppressed 
creature, turns round to look, and is grateful, very 
grateful. . . . 



The famous colonnades that line the principal streets in 
Turin. Translator. 



228 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

Good-bye, dear friend ! Remember me to your dear 
wife ( there is good news from my sister who has 
now moved into the colony of Nueva Germania) and 
if possible also to your mother. 
With hearty good wishes, 

Yours, 

NIETZSCHE. 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Turin, Thursday [May 31, 1888]. 
DEAR FRIEND: 

. . . Dr. Brandes lectures have come to a suc 
cessful conclusion. The lecturer himself was given a 
great ovation ; which, however, he maintains was not 
intended for him. He assured me that my name is now 
popular in all intelligent circles in Copenhagen and 
that it is known everywhere in Scandinavia. It would 
seem that my problems interested these northerners 
very much indeed. In one or two details they were 
better prepared for them than the rest of the world; 
for instance, they were ready for my theory of "mas 
ter morality" owing to the thorough general knowl 
edge they possess of the Icelandic sagas which provide 
very rich material for the theory. I am glad to hear 
that the Danish philologists approve and accept my 
derivation of bonus: in itself it seems rather a tall 
order to trace the concept "good" back to the concept 
"warrior". Without my hypothesis no philologist could 
ever have lighted upon such a notion. 

. . . I owe a good deal of solid instruction to 
the last few weeks. I found the Law-Book of Manu 
translated into French a work carried out in India 



FRIED RICH NIETZSCHE 229 

under the careful supervision of distinguished local 
dignitaries of the Hindu religion, and scholars. This 
absolutely Aryan product, a sacerdotal code of moral 
ity built upon the foundations of the Vedas, the idea 
of castes, and almost prehistoric in its antiquity and 
not at all pessimistic although very sacerdotal com 
pletes my ideas about religion in the most remark 
able manner. I confess that the impression it has 
given me is that everything else we possess in the 
nature of great moral codes is simply an imitation or 
even a caricature of this work : above all Egypticism. 
Even Plato strikes me as being, in all important 
points, merely the well-schooled chela of a Brahmana. 
While from the standpoint of Manu s Law-Book, the 
Jews seem to be a Chandala race, that has learned 
from its masters, the principles according to which a 
priesthood can prevail and organize a people. . . . 
Even the Chinese appear to have brought forth their 
Confucius and their Laotse under the influence of this 
classically antique law-book. The organization of the 
Middle Ages seems like a monstrous groping after the 
recovery of all the ideas on which the primeval Indo- 
Aryan community rested but in its case we have to 
reckon with the additional bias of pessimistic values 
that found their forcing dung in the general decadence 
of races. Here, again, the Jews appear to have been 
only "intermediaries" (middle-men) they invent 
nothing. 

So much, my dear friend, to show you how glad 
I am to have a talk with you. On Tuesday I leave. 
Your affectionate friend, 

NIETZSCHE. 



230 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Sils-Maria, June 20, 1888. 
DEAR FRIEND: 

Your "love duet" came like a flash of lightning to 
brighten my gloom. I was cured at one stroke; I 
confess that I even cried for joy. What memories this 
heavenly music awakens in me! And yet only now 
that I have read it for the sixth time in succession 
do I seem to understand it fully it strikes me as 
being in the highest degree suitable for singing. It is 
full of lofty enthusiasm that would have delighted 
Stendhal: only yesterday I was reading the richest 
of his books "Rome, Naples and Florence," and it con 
stantly reminded me of you. 1 Among other things, 
he relates how he asked Rossini : "Which do you pre 
fer, the Italiana in Algeri or the Tancredi?" Rossini 
answered: "II matrimonio segreto." 2 . . . 

And this, dear friend, reminds me that I must con 
gratulate you on having kept the title The Lion of 
Venice. It is certainly a very attractive title and 
makes a strong appeal to the imagination. It would 
be a pity if the suggestion of Venice were left out of it. 
. . . I also like the description, "an Italian comic 
opera" ; it will obviate many a confusion and misun 
derstanding. Finally, you are right to abide by the 
name "Peter Gast" : I realized this while reading it. 
It is curt, naif, and if you don t mind my saying so, 



Something quite unexpected has just been published: 
Stendhal s Diary, his privatissime consisting of about 16 books, 
which were discovered at Grenoble among a confused mass of 
his papers. (Note by Nietzsche.) 

3 Mozart was Stendhal s favourite musician. Translator. 



FRIED RICH NIETZSCHE 231 

German. ... You know that ever since last 
autumn I have thought your opera music very Ger 
man old-German of the good old sixteenth century. 
Once more my very best thanks the sudden ap 
pearance of this magnificent duet really was a cure. 

I was moved by the death of the Emperor Fred 
erick : after all he did represent a tiny flame of free 
thought, the last hope for Germany. Now the era 
of Stacker begins 1 I draw conclusions and know 
already that my "Will to Power" will be suppressed 
first in Germany. . . . 

With heartiest greetings and much gratitude, 

Your friend, 

NIETZSCHE. 

To KNORTZ. 

Sils-Maria, Oberengadine, 
June 21, 1888, 
Switzerland. 
DEAR SIR: 

The arrival of two works from your pen, for which 
I thank you, leads me to suppose that you are now in 
possession of my literature. The task of giving you 
a picture of myself either as a thinker or as a writer 
and poet strikes me as being extraordinarily difficult. 
The first important attempt of this sort was made 
last winter by the distinguished Dane, Dr. George 



*Adolf Stacker was a Court ecclesiastic with a strong bias 
against the Jews. By "era of Stacker" Nietzsche probably 
means era of Antisemitism and narrow-mindedness. 



232 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

Brandes, whom you will know as a historian of lit 
erature. This gentleman delivered a long course of 
lectures at the University of Copenhagen under the 
title of "The German Philosopher, Friedrich Niet 
zsche," the success of which, from all accounts, seems 
to have been brilliant. He managed to provoke the 
lively interest of an audience of 300 people in the 
boldness of my problems, and, as he himself says, 
has made niy name popular throughout the north. 
Otherwise my audience and my admirers are more 
concealed. Among the French section of them I 
reckon Monsieur Taine. My firm conviction is that 
iny problems, the whole position I assume as an Im- 
moralist, is much too premature for the present age, 
which is by no means prepared for it. I have not the 
remotest desire to go in for propaganda and have not 
yet moved a finger in that direction. 

I believe my Zarathustra is about the deepest book 
in the German tongue, and the most perfect from 
the standpoint of language. But in order to realize 
this, whole generations will be needed who will first 
of all have to overtake the inner experience upon 
which the foundation of such a work could grow. I 
would almost feel inclined to advise you to begin 
with my last most far-reaching and most important 
works ("Beyond Good and Evil" and "The Genealogy 
of Morals"). For my own part, the books I prefer 
are those belonging to my middle period "The Dawn 
of Day" and "The Joyful Wisdom" (they are the most 
personal). 

The "Thoughts Out of Season," which is the work 
of youth in a certain sense, is of the greatest value 



FKIEDKICH NIETZSCHE 233 

from the standpoint of my spiritual development. In 
Volker, Zeiten und Menschen, by Karl Hillebrand, 
you will find a few excellent essays on the first of the 
"Thoughts Out of Season." The essay against Strauss 
provoked a tremendous storm ; the essay on Schopen 
hauer, the perusal of which I particularly recommend, 
shows how an energetic and instinctively yea-saying 
spirit knows how to derive the most beneficent im 
pulses even from a Pessimist. For some years, which 
belong to the most precious of my life, I was bound to 
Wagner and Frau Cosima Wagner by feelings of the 
deepest confidence and most cordial friendship. If 
at the present day I belong to the opponents of the 
Wagnerian movement, it is obvious that no personal 
motives have induced me to assume this position. In 
Wagner s Collected Works, Vol. IX (if I remember 
rightly), there is a letter addressed to me which bears 
testimony to our relationship. I would fain believe 
that, thanks to their wealth of psychological experi 
ences, their fearlessness in the face of the most dan 
gerous things, and their lofty candour, my books are 
works of the highest rank. Moreover, in the art of 
exposition and in the matter of aesthetic quality, I 
would brook comparison with anybody. I am bound 
to the German language by long years of affection, 
secret intimacy and profound reverence. This is a 
sufficient explanation of why I can no longer read any 
books written in that language. 
I am, dear sir. 

Yours very truly, 

PROFESSOR DR. NIETZSCHE. 



234 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

To KARL FUCHS. 

Sils-Maria, Oberengadine, Switzerland. 

June 30, 1888. 
MY DEAR FRIEND: 

How strange ! How strange ! As soon as I was able 
to transfer myself to a cooler clime ( for in Turin the 
thermometer stood at 31 day after day) I intended 
to write you a nice letter of thanks. A pious inten 
tion, wasn t it? But who could have guessed that I 
was not only going back to a cooler clime, but into the 
most ghastly weather, weather that threatened to 
shatter my health ! Winter and summer in senseless 
alternation; twenty-six avalanches in the thaw; and 
now we have just had eight days of rain with the sky 
almost always grey this is enough to account for my 
profound nervous exhaustion, together with the re 
turn of my old ailments. I don t think I can ever 
remember having had worse weather, and this in my 
Sils-Maria, whither I always fly in order to escape bad 
weather. Is it to be wondered at that even the parson 
here is acquiring the habit of swearing? From time 
to time in conversation his speech halts, and then he 
always swallows a curse. A few days ago, just as he 
was coming out of the snow-covered church, he 
thrashed his dog and exclaimed: "The confounded 
cur spoiled the whole of my sermon !" . . . 

Yours in gratitude and devotion, 

NIETZSCHE. 



FBIEDBICH NIETZSCHE 235 

NIETZSCHE TO His MOTHER. 

Sils, July 23, 1888. 

MY DEAR MOTHER : 

I have yet to discuss the curious money affair with 
you. 1 Yesterday evening your letter reached me, just 
after I had heard of this, and yesterday morning I had 
already sent off a letter to Professor Deussen. For 
he had announced the matter to me direct, in very 
much the same way as he had announced it to you, 
but in his letter to me there was an extra sentence 
which I repeat for your edification : "I hope you will 
be kind and understanding enough to allow a few of 
us to repair the sins that mankind have committed 
against you." In my answer I protested against the 
suggestion that mankind had sinned against me ; paid 
a tribute to the liberality and undeserved gratitude 
of the Bale people ; denied most emphatically that my 
case was a pressing one and, finally, exactly on the 
same lines as you yourself had thought of, I accepted 
the- money, simply and only in view of the impossibil 
ity of finding publishers, and the necessity of having 
my works printed at my own expense. (During the 
last four years, I have spent over 4,000 marks in print 
ing expenses.) The greater part of the money con 
stituting this presentation is probably all Deussen s 
( last autumn he made me the most pressing offers 
of the same kind) . I do not altogether credit the story 



Note by E.F.N.: "Professor Deussen had just sent my 
brother 2,000 marks in the name of a few admirers who wished 
to remain anonymous, to help him with the printing of his 
books." 



236 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

of the "anonymous" Berlin admirers: the only man 
who could have had a share in the matter, and whose 
character would be in keeping with it, would be Dr. 
Ree (who is on good terms with Deussen). All this 
between ourselves. The most important thing of all 
is that no one should hear about it. It would be very 
bad for me, particularly in Bale, if anybody got the 
slightest wind of the affair. For at Bale they are 
really doing more than they undertook to do (my 
pension ought really to have come to an end in 
1886!). This winter I shall not go to Nice, for, last 
time, the visitors in the hotel became interested in the 
distressing state of my finances in a way that wounded 
my pride. Do not write about this business- to Para 
guay; Lizzie would certainly not regard it as a gift 
of honour, but as "alms," just as I do. I very much 
prefer to bestow gifts upon my admirers and this 
autumn I shall require about 200 marks for printing 
expenses. It is also possible that for my travels this 
winter I may be in need of a little extra cash, as 
I want to try something new. For many reasons, I 
am in need of a journey that will change my mind and 
divert me generally; for I have been extraordinarily 
depressed and melancholy of late. Otherwise, you 
know how economical I am. Give the money to 
Ktirbitz, therefore ; but impress upon him that I shall 
require some of it very soon. 

Your old thing, 

F. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 237 

NIETZSCHE TO His MOTHER. 

Sils, August 2, 1888. 
MY DEAR MOTHER: 

. . . The company at this hotel is not bad ; and 
all the distinguished members of it try to be intro 
duced to me. Among these are, a very agreeable law 
yer, Dr. Schon, from Ltibeck; an old President of 
Northern Germany ; a Professor von Holten of Ham 
burg, here for the second time; a conductor from the 
Court Theatre of Dresden; and even the pretty girls 
pay me court quite openly. People are beginning to 
think of me as "somebody." This year the cook is 
cooking for me with special "finesse." Letters come 
which are in part mad with enthusiasm for my books : 
among these there was one that was sent off in the 
middle of Parsifal at Bayreuth, in the name of a 
whole coterie of "disciples" from Vienna. Never 
theless, I am very cool in the face of such adolescent 
advances. I do not write for men who are ferment 
ing and immature. 

Fraulein von Salis has come, too ; she is even a little 
thinner and paler than she was before. This week Sils 
has had her three new bells swung, and to-day I con 
gratulated their excellent founder and maker the 
leading bell-founder in Switzerland. Their sound is 
very fine. 

. . . With greetings and a hearty embrace, 

Your Old Thing. 



238 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

NIETZSCHE TO His MOTHER. 

Sils, August 30, 1888. 
MY DEAR MOTHER : 

It is my wish that this letter should reach you on 
September 2 at the* latest, not to celebrate the anni 
versary of Sedan, but because on that day your ex 
cellent Alwine 1 will have been with you ten years. In 
these days, when everything is constantly on* the 
move, this period is almost a miracle; and there are 
few things for which you could be more envied (un 
less it were for your son ) . It is precisely because 
you are alone, with your two children at the opposite 
ends of the world, that you really require such a good 
and faithful creature with you, in order to feel at 
home at all. The worst of it is, that you will not so 
easily find a substitute if ever one should become 
necessary. Please tell Alwine for me how much I 
thank her and appreciate her services : I believe that 
everything good in this world has its reward. 

. . . With heartiest greetings, 

Your Old Thing. 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Turin, September 27, 1888. 
DEAR FRIEND : 

. . . The first letter about the Case [of Wagner] 
came from Gersdorff. He also says of the Lion-duet 
(ex ungue I eon em 2 ) "this is the sort of music I like. 
Where are the ears to hear it and the musicians to 



The servant with Nietzsche s mother. Translator. 
a "From the claw judge the lion," i. e., from the part judge 
the whole. Translator. 



FRIEDKICH NIETZSCHE 239 

play it?" Now listen to a strange thing Gersdorff 
has told me about which I am highly delighted: 
Gersdorff saw Wagner in a transport of rage against 
Bizet, when Minnie Hauck was in Naples and sang 
Carmen. In view of the fact that Wagner has taken 
sides in the matter, too, my malice in a certain impor 
tant passage [of the pamphlet] will be felt all the 
more keenly. Moreover, Gersdorff sends me a serious 
warning against the female Wagnerites. The title of 
my new book, "The Twilight of the Idols," will also 
be felt in this sense that is to say, as another malevo 
lent thrust at Wagner. . . . 

. . . Five paces away lies the largest Piazza, 
with the old mediaeval castle. On the Piazza there 
stands a charming little theatre, in which in the even 
ing one can sit in the open, eat one s gelato, and now, 
best of all, listen to the French Mascottc by Audran 
(which I got to know very well at Nice) . This music, 
which is never vulgar and so full of pretty ingenious 
little melodies, exactly fits the sort of idyllic existence 
which I now need of an evening. ( Its opposite is the 
Gypsy Baron by Strauss. 1 I very soon fled from this 
with loathing it is characteristic of the two kinds 
of German vulgarity, the bestial and the sentimental 
kind, in addition to containing perfectly appalling 
attempts at posing as an accomplished musician. 
Heavens ! how superior the French are to us in taste. ) 

With best greetings, dear friend, and heartiest 
wishes for Berlin and all that depends thereon, 

Yours, 

N. 

Vohann Strauss "Der Zigeuner Baron." 



240 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

NIETZSCHE TO MALVIDA VON MEYSENBUG. 

Turin, October 4, 1888. 
MY DEAREST FRIEND : 

I have just given nay publisher the order to send 
you at once at your Versailles address three copies 
of an essay of mine that has just been printed, the 
title of which is "The Case of Wagner, A Musician s 
Problem." This work, a declaration of w r ar, in 
acstheticis, and one which could not be more radical 
in conception, seems to be making a great stir. My 
publisher informs me that as soon as it was announced 
that an essay by me on this problem and written in 
this spirit was going to be produced, so many orders 
came in that the edition might be regarded as ex 
hausted. You will see that I have not lost my good 
spirits in this duel. Truth to tell, in the midst of the 
appallingly severe task of my life, the annihilation of 
Wagner is a veritable recreation. I wrote this little 
essay here in Turin in the spring: meanwhile I have 
completed the first book of my "Transvaluation of All 
Values." 

This essay against Wagner ought to be read in 
French. It would even be easier to translate it into 
French than into German. In many respects it is in 
intimate harmony with French taste: my praise of 
Bizet at the beginning would be listened to with great 
interest. It is true that the translation would require 
a fine, if not a subtle stylist, in order to render the 
tone of the essay adequately : after all, I myself am 
now the only subtle writer in German. 

I should be most grateful if you could obtain the 



FEIEDEICH NIETZSCHE 241 

invaluable counsel of M. Gabriel Monod 1 on this point. 
( The whole of the summer I had the opportunity of 
getting advice from another quarter, from M. Paul 
Bourget, who was staying in my immediate neigh 
borhood; but he understands nothing about rebus 
musicis et musicantibus; but for this, he would be 
the translator I should like to have.) 

This essay, well translated into French, would be 
read by half the world. I am the only authority on 
this matter and moreover enough of a psychologist 
and a musician not to be imposed upon by anything 
in all matters of technique. 

I read your kind letter, dearest friend, with deep 
emotion. You are absolutely right so am I. 2 

With all the heartiest wishes of your old friend, 

N. 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Turin, Thursday, October 30, 1888. 
DEAR FRIEND : 

. . . The weather is so perfect that to do a thing 
well is no feat. On my birthday I again started some 
thing fresh something that promises to be a success 

"Then Professor of History at the Sorbonne. Translator. 

a Nietzsche here refers to a letter written to him by Fraulein 
von Meysenbug on August 12, 1888, in which the following 
passage occurs: "When you complain that the gifts you lavish 
on the world evoke no response, no answer, let me assure you 
that more than one heart beats in affectionate sympathy with 
you and your lot, and that it is chiefly your own fault if your 
experience is such an unhappy one, for he who surrenders 
himself to solitude/ you know well enough what happens to 
him. It is either a mistake or a paradox to say that you have 
the luck to embitter everything weak and virtuous against* 
you. The truly virtuous are not at all weak; on the contrary, 



242 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

and is already well advanced. It is called Ecce Homo, 
or Hoiv one becomes what one is. It is a daring 
treatise about myself and my writings: in it I wish 
not only to represent myself as confronted by the 
weird and solitary task of the Transvaluation I 
should also like for once to discover what I actually 
risk under cover of the German idea of the Freedom 
of the Press. What I suspect is that the first book 
of the Transvaluation will be suppressed on the spot 
legally and with the best of all possible rights. 
With this Ecce Homo I should like to drive the ques 
tion to such a pitch of earnestness and curiosity that 
the customary and, at bottom, rational ideas as to 
what is allowable, should make an exception in this 
case. Moreover, I speak about myself with all possible 
psychological subtlety and good cheer I should hate 
to come before my fellow men in the guise of a 
prophet, a monster, and a moral-scarecrow. In this 
sense, too, this book might do some goad: it may 
perhaps prevent my being confounded with my 
opposite. 



they are the truly strong: as the original concept virtu actually 

? roves. And you yourself are the living proof of the contrary; 
or you are truly virtuous, and I believe that your example, if 
men only knew it, would convince them more than your books. 
For what constitutes the quality of being virtuous? It means 
that for the sake of a great idea, an ideal, one is prepared to 
endure life steadfastly with all its miseries, and to rescue it 
from the thraldom of blind will, by means of knowledge and the 
freedom of self-determination. You have done and in another 
form accomplished what the saints of an earlier faith used to 
achieve. The fact that the people in Germany are now on their 
knees before the idol of Might, is of course sad enough; but the 
time will come when even German intellect will awake anew 
from its slumber. And if not? Well, then, the further develop 
ment of mankind will be carried on by other stocks, as we see 
happening in Denmark and America. - Translator. 



FKIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 243 



I am all agog about your Kunstwart-bumamty. 1 
Do you know, by-the-bye, that in the summer I wrote 
Herr Avenarius an extremely rude letter because of 
the way in which his paper dropped Heinrich Heine. 
Rude letters in my case a sign of good cheer. 

With heartiest greetings and best wishes for the 
past, the present and the future. ("One thing is more 
necessary than another" Thus Spake Zarathustra) . 

N. 

NIETZSCHE TO His SISTER. 
Torino (Italia) via Carlo Alberto. 6. III. 

End of October, 1888. 
MY DEAR LAMA : 

. . . As you see I am again in my good city of 
Turin, the city of which Gobineau 2 also was so fond 
may be it is like us both. I, too, very much enjoy the 



" Kunstwart" (arbiter of art) is the name of a German art 
journal. At the end of November, 1888, Cast s review of 
Nietzsche s "The Case of Wagner" appeared in this journal. 
Translator. 

Arthur, Count Gobineau, a French writer and scientist, 
born at Bordeaux in 1816, and died at Turin in 1882. He en 
tered the diplomatic service early in life, became secretary of 
the French Legation at Berne, and later at Hanover; then he 
was appointed Secretary of the French Embassy in Persia 
(1854-1858), then minister plenipotentiary at the same Em 
bassy (1862-1864). He represented France at Athens, and 
later (1868) at Rio Janeiro, and finally at Stockholm (1872- 
1877). Published works: "Three Years in Asia" (1859) ; "Reli 
gions and Philosophies of Central Ada" (1865); "Treatise on 
Cuneiform Writings" (1864); "Essay on the Inequality of Hu 
man Races" (1854) ; "History of the Persians" (1869) ; "History 
of Ottar Jarl, Norwegian Pirate" (1879); "The Renaissance." 
Of these works, the "Essays on the Inequality of Human Races" 
and "The Renaissance" have been edited with introductions by 
Dr. Oscar Levy and published by Messrs. Heinemann in 1915 
and 1918, respectively. Translator. 



244 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

distinguished and somewhat haughty manner of these 
old Turinians. There is no greater contrast than that 
between good-natured but thoroughly vulgar Leipzig 
and this city of Turin. Moreover, we have a curious 
similarity of taste in all important matters I mean 
the Turinians and myself not only does it extend to 
the style of the houses, and the arrangement of the 
streets, but also to the cooking. Everything here 
tastes good, and everything suits me admirably; so 
much so that my strength has increased here to an 
astonishing degree. It is really hard luck that I did 
not discover this place ten years ago. All too late I 
desperately bewail the fact that I did not spend that 
summer of most terrible memory here instead of at 
that most appalling of all places the Engadine! It 
is a good thing that I managed to steal away from 
there in time: now it would be scarcely possible to 
get to Italy from that direction, for the heavy floods 
in Italy, Switzerland and France still continue. Com 
pared with the summer elsewhere it has of course been 
cool here in Turin; but that would be no objection 
against it, because a cool summer in Turin amounts, 
as far as I am concerned, to a very agreeable moderate 
temperature. As a matter of fact everybody here is 
well satisfied with the year: and I have not heard 
this said anywhere else in Europe. At the time when 
we were having dreadful weather in the Engadine 
here they were celebrating the great festivals in con 
nection with Prince Amadeo s wedding with Laetitia, 
the daughter of Jerome Napoleon. 

This time, as I am no longer a stranger here, things 
have very much improved for me, so that there is now 



FKIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 245 

a real contrast between my wretched and deplorable 
existence in Nice and my life in Turin. Everywhere 
people treat me with the utmost deference. You ought 
to see how pleased they all look when I come, and 
how everybody in every rank of life does his best, exer 
cises his tact to the utmost, and displays his most 
courteous and most amiable manners. But this is not 
only the case here; year in, year out, it is the same 
wherever I am. I except Germany there alone, have 
I had the most hateful experiences [. . . ]. When, 
hereafter, my history is written, people will read 
therein : "He was treated badly only by Germans !" 
Heavens, what extraordinary people these Germans 
are! and how tedious! Not a single intelligent word 
ever comes to me from that direction. 

In this golden autumn the first I have ever had 
my whole life long I am writing a sort of retrospect 
of my life, 1 for myself alone. No one shall read it, 
save a certain good Lama, when she comes across the 
ocean to visit her brother. It is not the stuff for the 
German cattle whose culture is making such astonish 
ing strides in the beloved Fatherland. I shall bury 
and conceal the manuscript ; it may mould away, and 
when we have all turned to ashes it will celebrate its 
resurrection. Perhaps at that time the Germans will 
be more worthy of the great gift I think of giving 
them. 

With my heartiest embrace, 

YOUR BROTHER ANIMAL, 
Who is now quite a great beast. 

*Ecce Homo. Translator. 



246 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 
Turin. Via Carlo Alberto. 6. III. 

[November 13, 1888.] 
DEAR FRIEND : 

. . . My "Ecce Homo, How One Becomes What 
One Is," came into being between October 15, my 
birthday and my precious King s day, and November 
4, and it was produced with so much of the self- 
glorification of antiquity and such good spirits that 
it seems to me too worthy an object to be joked about. 
The last parts, by-the-bye, are conceived in harmonics 
which appear to be absent from the Meistersinger, 
"the manner of the world-ruler" . . . The last 
chapter bears the disagreeable title: "Why I am a 
Fatality." The fact that this is so is proved so con 
clusively that in the end people are forced to halt in 
front of me, as before a "spectre" and a "feeling 
breast." 1 

The manuscript in question has already performed 
the crab-march to the printers. As to the form of the 
production, I have selected the same as that decided 
upon for the "Transvaluation," to which it is a fire- 
spitting introduction. 

Herr Carl Spitteler has vented his delight over 
"The Case of Wagner" in the Bund of Berne. He 
finds extraordinarily apt expressions. In the letter 
he also congratulated me on having followed up my 
thoughts to their extremest consequences. He seems 
to regard my general indictment of modern music 
as the music of decadence, as a contribution of the 

From Schiller s "Taucher," Verse 21. Translator. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 247 

highest value to the history of civilization. Inciden 
tally he had first applied to the Kunstwart. 

I hear from Paris that I may expect an article in 
the Revue Nouvelle. I was also approached by a fresh 
sympathizer from St. Petersburg: Princess Anna 
Dmitrivna Tnicheff . A day or two ago I also re 
ceived the address of Bizet s charming widow, whom I 
am especially requested to please by sending a copy of 
my Wagner pamphlet. 

Our wonderful little ladies of the Turin aristocracy 
have planned a Concorso di bellezza, for January; 
they have grown quite wanton since the portraits of 
the Spa beauty-prize winners reached here. As early 
as the spring I noticed a similar contest in the matter 
of portraits at the last exhibition. Wherein they no 
doubt feel superior to the whole world outside Turin 
in the perfect naivete with which they entrust their 
bosoms to the painter. 

Our new citoyenne, the beautiful Latitia Bonaparte, 
recently married to the Duke of Aosta, and now a 
resident here, will in any case be one of the com 
pany. . . . 

Your friend, 

NIETZSCHE. 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Turin, November 18, 1888. 
DEAR FRIEND: 

Your letter has led to consequences. I feel some 
thing in the nature of an electric shock. . . . 
Without a moment s delay a little note was despatched 
to Fritzsch of which the last line read: "In sincere 



248 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

contempt Nietzsche." In two days time I shall 
write to him and say, "Let us come to terms, Herr 
Fritzsch. In these circumstances it is not possible 
for me to leave my work in your hands. How much 
do you want for the whole lot?" If things can be so 
arranged that all my works are restored to me and 
transferred to Naumann it would be a masterly stroke 
at the present juncture two years later Herr Fritzsch 
might want to consider the matter very seriously. 
. . . Mille grazie! It may be that you have proved 
yourself to be the founder of my fortune. I reckon 
that he will ask for 450 ; if I am not utterly at fault 
he paid Schmeitzner 300. Think of it! I shall be 
come the owner of "Zarathustra !" "Ecce Homo" 
alone will open people s eyes. I am almost falling off 
my chair with joy. 

But all this is merely incidental. I am deeply con 
cerned about a very different question the question 
of light opera to which your letter refers. We have 
not seen each other since the time I received so much 
enlightenment on this question oh, so much enlight 
enment! So long as you confound the idea of light 
opera with anything in which there is condescension 
or vulgarity of taste, you are excuse the drastic ex 
pression only a German! . . . Just enquire 
how Monsieur Audran defines light opera : "the Para 
dise of all delicate and refined things," sublime sweet- 
stuffs included. Only a little while ago I heard a per 
formance of Mascotte three hours and not a bar of 
Vienneseness (= swinishness) .* Just read any one of 



The German play on the words "Wienerei" and "Schwein- 
erei" cannot be rendered in English. Translator. 



FKIEDKICH NIETZSCHE 249 

the French notices about a Parisian Operette; in 
France of the present day they are real geniuses in 
the art of intellectual wantonness, malicious good 
nature, archaisms, exoticisms, and absolutely ingenu 
ous things. For a light opera to be able to succeed 
amid the enormous pressure of competition it must 
contain ten numbers of the very first quality. There 
is already quite a science of finesses in taste and in 
effect. I assure you Vienna is a pigsty. If I could 
show you a real Parisian soubrette who creates in 
one single part, as for instance Mile. Judie or Milly 
Meyer the scales would fall from your eyes, or rather 
I should say from light opera. Light opera has no 
scales; these are merely German .... 

And here I think is a sort of recipe. For such bodies 
and souls as we possess, dear friend, a little poison 
ing with Parisin is simply salvation we become our 
selves, we cease from being case-hardened Germans. 
Forgive me, but I could not even write German until I 
had imagined Parisians as my readers. "The Case of 
Wagner" is Light-opera music. 

Only lately I made the same remark about a really 
genial work by the Swede Herr August Strindberg, 
who was introduced to me by Doctor Brandes, one of 
his chief admirers. It is French culture based upon 
an incomparably stronger and healthier foundation; 
the effect is bewitching. It is called Les Maries ( Par 
is, 1885). Strange to say, we absolutely agree about 
"woman" Dr. Brandes had already noticed this. 

Moral : not Italy, old friend ! Here where I can see 
the leading light opera company in Italy, I say to 
myself, at the sight of each movement of the pretty, 



250 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

all-too-pretty little women, that they make a living 
caricature of every light opera. They have no esprit 
in their little legs not to speak of their little heads. 
. . . . Offenbach is just as sombre ( I mean thor 
oughly vulgar) in Italy as in Leipzig. 

See how wise I am becoming now! How I trans 
value even the values of my friend Gast! Why not 
Brussels . . . Best of all of course, Paris itself. 
It is the air that does it. . . . Wagner knew that; 
he only learnt how to stage himself in Paris. Begging 
you to take this letter tragically, 

EVER YOURS, N. 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Turin, Monday, November 26, 1888. 
DEAR FRIEND : 

Perhaps you have also received a copy of the "Twi 
light of the Idols"? The first copies reached me here 
yesterday. I have fixed the price of the book at one 
and a half marks; you understand? "Ecce Homo," 
which will be put in hand now, will be the same price 
and have the same binding and everything. Deliver 
me from a difficulty and give Naumann something 
about the "Twilight of the Idols" for the Bookseller s 
trade paper. You can express yourself as strongly as 
you like. 

Fritzsch wants about 10,000 marks from me. 

The question of the "Freedom of the Press", as I 
see it only too clearly now, is one which cannot be alto 
gether raised in respect of my "Ecce Homo." I have 
taken a stand so very far beyond not that which is 
to-day generally accepted and supreme, but beyond 



FEIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 251 

mankind that to apply a law-code to my work would 
be a farce. Besides, the book is full of jokes and 
malicious conceits, because I present myself with vio 
lent emphasis as the opposite of that type of man who 
has been looked up to hitherto the book is as "un 
holy" as it can possibly be. 

I admit that "The Twilight of the Idols" strikes 
me as being perfect. It is impossible to say such 
decisive things more plainly or more delicately. No 
man could have employed ten days more usefully; 
for the book certainly took no longer. Jacob Burck- 
hardt had the first copy from me. 

For some time past we have been having the most 
delightful spring-like weather, which still continues, 
At present I am sitting quite happily and quite light 
ly clad before an open window. 

One last consideration. Understand, my dear 
friend, that to "disturb circles" 1 is really impossible 
in my present way of living. There is something par 
ticular about these circles something different; 2 at 
times I find myself utterly upset at the impossibility 
of saying a single honest or unequivocal word to any 
one there is no one to whom I can say such things 
except Herr Peter Gast. . . . And you will cer- 

*A reference to Archimedes absorption in mathematical 
problems when Syracuse had fallen into the hands of the 
Romans. The story was that soldiers discovered him drawing 
circles, and not knowing who he was, killed him. 

*It seemed to Gast that to move to Turin close to Nietzsche s 
side, with all the light opera work that he (Gast) then had on 
hand, was, in view of Nietzsche, as also on his own account, 
extremely imprudent. Writing to Nietzsche, Gast said: "You 
would very soon have cried out to me noli turbare circulos meox. 
Whereupon Nietzsche replied with the passage to which this 
note refers in order to set Cast s mind at rest. 



252 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

tainly find in ray "actuality", which at bottom is 
cheerful and full of malice, more inspiration for light 
opera than anywhere else. I play so many silly tricks 
with myself, and have such extraordinary clownish 
notions in private, that occasionally I grin I know 
of no other word upon the open street for half an 
hour at a time. A day or two ago it occurred to me 
to introduce Malvida as a laughing Kundry at a de 
cisive point in "Ecce Homo." . . . For four days 
I have lost the power of composing my features into 
an expression of seriousness. 

I think that in such a state a man is ripe for the 
task of "World Redeemer"? . . . 

Come! 

YOUE FRIEND, N. 

NIETZSCHE TO His SISTER. 

Turin, December, 1888. 
MY SISTER: 

I received your letter 1 and, after having read it 
several times, see myself seriously compelled to wish 
you good-bye. At the present moment when my fate 
has decided itself, I feel every one of your words with 
tenfold sharpness ; you do not seem to be even remotely 
conscious of the fact that you are next-of-kin to the 



Unfortunately I had received "The Case of Wagner" be 
fore his two letters of September 14th and 17th had reached 
me, and had written him a letter full of alarm and sorrow 
about it, which had hurt his feelings. Then he feared the effect 
of the Antichrist, for Christianity and Wagner had become our 
most vulnerable points. (It should not be forgotten that as 
a rule from ten to twelve weeks elapsed between the dispatch 
of a letter from Paraguay and the receipt of an answer to it.) 
Frau F.N. 



FRIED RICH NIETZSCHE 253 

man and his destiny, in which the question of millen 
niums has been decided speaking quite literally, I 
hold the Future of mankind in my hand. 

I know human nature and am unspeakably far 
from condemning in any individual case, what, after 
all, is nothing more than the fatality of mankind in 
general ; nay more I understand how you, precisely, 
finding it utterly impossible to see the things among 
which I live, were almost forced to take refuge in 
their opposite. The only thing that consoles me, is 
the thought that in your way, you have done well, 
that you have some one you love and who loves you, 
that you have yet a great mission to fulfil, to which 
you have consecrated your means as well as your 
strength and, finally, I will not conceal the fact that 
this very mission has led you so far away from me 
that you do not even feel the coming shocks that are 
perhaps about to shake me. In any case, I trust this is 
so, for your sake, but above all I implore you urgently 
never to allow yourself to be misled by any friendly 
and in this case dangerous inquisitiveness, into 
reading the books that I am about to publish now. 
They would only wound you most terribly and 
wound me into the bargain by the thought of you. 
That is why I regret having sent you the essay on 
Wagner, which, in the midst of the appalling tension 
in which I live was a genuine relief to me, as an honest 
duel between a psychologist and a pious seducer 
whom it was difficult for anyone to recognize as such. 

To set your mind at rest, let me say at least that I 
am feeling wonderfully well, and more resolute and 
patient than I have ever felt before in my whole life. 



254 SELECTED LETTERS OP 

The most difficult task comes easily to me, and every 
thing I touch succeeds. The task that lies upon me 
is after all my own nature and thus only now have 
I some idea what the happiness was that was await 
ing me all this time. I play with a burden that 
would crush every other mortal. For that which I 
have to accomplish is terrible, in every sense of the 
word. I do not only challenge individuals I chal 
lenge the world of mankind with a terrific indictment. 
However the judgment may fall, for or against me, 
my name is in any case linked up with a fatality the 
magnitude of which is unutterable. 

While begging you to read, not hardness, but its 
reverse in this letter genuine humanity which is try 
ing to avoid superfluous mischief I beseech you to 
retain your love for me despite the necessity circum 
stances have forced upon me. 

YOUR BROTHER. 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Turin, December 2, 1888. 

Sunday afternoon, after 4 o clock, and an extraor 
dinarily fine autumn day. I have just returned from 
a big concert which really produced upon me the 
strongest impression I have ever experienced at a 
concert in my whole life. My face was constantly dis 
torted by my efforts to overcome my feelings of ex 
treme pleasure, including ten minutes of the distor 
tion of tears. Oh, what a pity you were not there! 
At bottom it was the lesson of light opera applied to 
music. The ninety leading musicians of the town; 
an excellent conductor; the largest theatre in the 



FKIEDKICH NIETZSCHE 255 

place, with glorious acoustic conditions; 2,500 peo 
ple in the audience; without exception everything 
here that has anything to do or to say in regard to 
music. Truly a publico sceltissimo 1 nowhere else 
hitherto have I had the feeling that so many nuances 
were being understood. The programme consisted 
only of extremely fine pieces, and I seek in vain for 
an example of more intelligent enthusiasm. No 
where an acknowledgment of mediocre taste. They 
opened with the Egmont Overture believe me, I 
thought only of Herr Peter Gast the whole time. 
Then we had Schubert s Hungarian March, magni 
ficently interpreted and orchestrated by Liszt. Im 
mense success, da capo. Then something for all the 
string instruments alone, at the end of the fourth 
bar I was in tears. A perfectly heavenly and pro 
found inspiration by whom? By a musician called 
Kossaro who died in Turin in 1870. I swear to you 
it was music of the very first quality, so excellent in 
its form and sentiment that it altered my whole con 
ception of the Italians. Not a moment s sentimen 
tality I no longer know what "great" names are. 
May be the best remain unknown. Then followed 
the Overture to Sakuntalq, after which the conduc 
tor had to acknowledge the uproarious applause eight 
times. Ye Gods! this fellow Goldmark! I should 
not have believed it of him. This overture is con 
structed a thousand times better than anything of 
Wagner s, and psychologically it is so seductive, so 
subtle, that I once again breathed the air of Paris. 

*A most select public. Translator. 



L>56 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

Instrumentally planned out and thought out, like 
filigree work. Then we had another piece for string 
instruments alone: A Cyprian Song by Bilbao 
again the last word in subtlety of invention and musi 
cal effect; once more tremendous success, and da 
capo, although it was a long piece. In conclusion: 
Patrie! an Overture by Bizet. How cultured we are! 
He was thirty-five years old when he wrote this long 
dramatic work, and you ought to hear how the little 
man grows heroic. 

Ecco! Can one be better fed? And I only paid a 
franc to get in! 

To-night they are playing Francesco, da Rimini in 
the Carignano; in my last letter I sent you an ac 
count of it. The composer Cagnoni will be present. 

It strikes me more and more that in its judgment 
of music, as in other matters, Turin is the soundest 
city I know. 

YOUR FRIEND, N. 

NIETZSCHE TO His MOTHER. 
Torino, via Carlo Alberto. 6. III. 
December 21, 1888. 
MY DEAR OLD MOTHER : 

. . . The weather is somewhat misty here too, 
but not so bad as to make me light any fires yet. 
After a few days of mist the sun and the clear sky 
always recover the upper hand. There has been a 
grand funeral here, that of one of our princes, a 
cousin of the King; a very deserving man in Italy, 
and also in the Navy, for he was Admiral of the 
Fleet. 



FEIEDEICH NIETZSCHE 257 

. . . The best news I have comes from my 
friend Gast, whose whole experience has changed 
wonderfully. Not only are the leading artists in 
Berlin Joachim, de Alma, those most exacting and 
spoilt of German artists most deeply interested in 
his works, but what will surprise you most is that 
he moves in the richest and most distinguished circles 
in Berlin. Perhaps his opera will be produced for 
the first time in Berlin. Count Hochberg is closely 
connected with the circles frequented by Gast. 

On the whole, your old thing is now a hugely 
famous animal, not exactly in Germany, for the Ger 
mans are too stupid and too vulgar for the loftiness 
of my spirit, and have always put their foot in it 
where I am concerned but I mean everywhere else. 
My admirers consist of none but the most excep 
tional natures, nothing but highly placed and influ 
ential people in St. Petersburg, Paris, Stockholm, 
Vienna, and New York. Oh if you only knew on 
what terms the foremost personages of the w r orld 
express their loyalty to me the most charming 
women, a Madame la Princesse Tenicheff not by any 
means excepted. I have genuine geniuses among my 
admirers to-day there is no name that is treated 
with as much distinction and respect as my own. 
You see that is the feat sans name, sans rank, and 
sans riches, I am nevertheless treated like a little 
prince here, by everybody, even down to my fruit- 
stall woman, who is never satisfied till she has picked 
me out the sweetest bunch from among her grapes. 
Fortunately I am equal to all that my task de 
mands of me. My health is really excellent. The 



258 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

most difficult tasks for which no man has yet been 
strong enough, come lightly to me. 

My dear old mother, at the close of the year, I send 
you my heartiest wishes, and ask you to wish me a 
year which will in every respect be in keeping with 
the great things that must happen in it. 

YOUR OLD THING. 

NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

Turin, December 22, 1888. 
DEAR FRIEND: 

. . . Your news is excellent and the case of 
Joachim is of the very first order. Without the Jews 
there is no immortality they are not the "eternal 
race" for nothing. Dr. Fuchs, too, knows his busi 
ness very well indeed. I confess that so long as there 
is a chance of Hochberg (for any minute a mad Wag- 
nerite may step into his place), that chance should 
be kept in view. . . . 

. . . Strange! During the last month I have 
learnt to understand my own writings nay more, to 
value them. Joking apart, I had never known their 
full import, I should lie were I to say except in the 
case of Zarathustra that they had impressed me. 
It is the case of the mother with her child she may 
perhaps love it but she is stupidly ignorant of w r hat 
the child is. Now I am absolutely convinced that 
they are all successful productions from beginning 
to end and that they one and all aim at the same 
object. Yesterday I read the "Birth of Tragedy"; 
it is something indescribable, deep, subtle, and 
happy. . . , 



FRIED RICH NIETZSCHE 259 

We had better not print the pamphlet Nietzsche 
contra Wagner. "Ecce" contains everything decisive 
even on this point. The part which, among other 
things, also refers to the maestro Pietro Gasti has 
already been inserted in "Ecce." I may also add the 
song of Zarathustra it is called "Concerning the 
Poverty of the Richest," as a sort of interlude be 
tween two important parts. 

I have received a wonderfully nice letter -from 
Monsieur Taine in Paris ( he also gets Peter Gast 
to read!) ; he bemoans the fact that he does not un 
derstand enough German for toutes mes audaces et 
finesses that is to say, not enough to understand 
them at first glance and as a competent reader of 
my works he recommends no less a person than the 
chief editor of the Journal des Debats and the Revue 
des Deux Mondes, Monsieur Bourdeau, one- of the 
leading, and most influential figures in France, and a 
man who has made the most profound study of Ger 
many and her literature.. He> ought to undertake to 
make me knowa in France and see to the question 
of translation. Monsieur Taine has recommended 
him for that purpose. Thus the great Panama Canal 
to France has been opened. 

My best wishes to your respected relatives, 

Your friend, 
NIETZSCHE. 

CONCLUDING REMARK BY FRAU F. N, 
This New Year (1889) to which our beloved looked 
forward with such hopes, brought us the most pro 
found sorrow. As the result of overwork and the 



200 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

use of powerful narcotics, towards the end of the 
old year he had a stroke, and from then until his 
death cerebral paralysis incapacitated him from any 
further work. He lived from the beginning of the 
year 1890 to the beginning of 1897 under the excel 
lent care of our dear mother in Naumburg, and from 
that time until the end, with me in Weimar, until, as 
the result of a fresh stroke on August 25, 1900, this 
most beloved of brothers was taken from me. 



NIETZSCHE TO PETER GAST. 

[Postmark, Torino, Ferrovia, 4. 1. 89. 

4 a. m.] 
To MY MAESTRO PIETRO: 

Sing me a new song ; the world is transfigured ; all 
the Heavens are rejoicing. 

THE MAN ON THE CROSS. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 261 



NIETZSCHE TO HANS VON BtlLow. 1 

Bale, July 20, 1872. 
DEAR SIR: 

How glad I should be to be able to tell you once 
more with, what admiration and gratitude I always 
think of you. You gave me access to the most noble ar 
tistic emotions of my life, and if I was unable to thank 
you immediately after the two performances, please 
ascribe this to the fact that I was in that utterly 
shaken condition when a man neither speaks nor 
thinks but can only creep into loneliness. All of us, 
however, took leave of you and of Munich with feel 
ings of the deepest personal obligation, and as I was 
quite unable to express this to you more clearly and 
eloquently, it occurred to me that I might prove my 
desire of showing my gratitude by sending you one 
of my own compositions, in the somewhat sorry but 
necessary form of a dedication intra parietes. An 
eminently worthy desire! But what unworthy mu 
sic! Laugh at me I deserve it. 

I see from the papers that you are going to per 
form Tristan again on August 8. 2 I shall probably 
come and see it again. My friend Gersdorff will 
also be back in Munich in time for it. 



*In view of the great fame of Burckhardt, Billow, Brandes 
and Strindberg, it has been thought advisable to give the 
answers of these correspondents as well. Editor. 

This performance was postponed to August 18th owing 
to the King s belated return from the hills. 



262 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

A day or two ago I had the pleasure of receiving a 
letter from Herr von Senger. Have you read R. 
W. s letter (pamphlet) on classical philology? My 
fellow philologists are jolly exasperated about it. A 
Berlin pamphlet entitled Zukunftaphilologie directed 
against my book seems to be chiefly concerned with 
the object of annihilating me. But I am also in 
formed that a counter manifesto, written by Profes 
sor Rohde in Kiel, which will soon be published, 
is calculated to annihilate the pamphleteer in ques 
tion. I, for my part, am busy with the conception 
of a new essay; unfortunately it is also about Zu- 
kunftsphilologie, and I can only wish every pamphle 
teer a similar occupation. In the midst of this work 
I should like once more to enjoy the recuperating 
power of Tristan ; then I should return to the Greeks 
rejuvenated and purified. But inasmuch as it is you 
who dispense this magic medicine, you are my doc 
tor, and if you should think that your patient writes 
atrocious music, you know the Pythagorean art- 
secret of curing him by means of "good" music. But 
in this way you rescue him for philology, while he, 
if left to himself without good music, would begin 
to howl musically from time to time like the cats 
on the tiles. 

Assuring you, dear sir, of my friendship and de 
votion, 

I am yours, sincerely, 

FRIEDEICH NIETZSCHE. 



FK I ED RICH NIETZSCHE 263 

HANS VON BtfLOW TO NIETZSCHE. 

Munich, July 24, 1872. 
MY DEAR PROFESSOR: 

I was so taken aback by your kind letter and the 
presentation accompanying it that I have rarely in 
my life felt so thoroughly uneasy in similar circum 
stances. The one question I asked myself was shall 
I hold my tongue, or send a civil and trivial note in 
reply or shall I open my heart quite freely? The 
latter course required courage almost to the extent 
of daring and to adopt it I had first to assume that 
I could rely on your firm belief in the respect I feel 
for you as a genial and creative champion of science 
and secondly to take refuge in two privileges I 
possess and to which I only refer with the greatest 
reluctance one of them indeed melancholy enough 
the fact that I am a score of years or so your sen 
ior, and the other that I am a professional musician. 
In the latter capacity I am accustomed like the com 
mercial man who "in matters of business drops 
friendship" to practise the precept; in materia mu- 
sicce 1 politeness ceases. 

But to turn to the matter in hand. Your Man 
fred Meditation is the most extreme example of fan 
tastic extravagance and the most unedifying and 
most anti-musical composition I have met for some 
time. Again and again I had to ask myself whether 
the whole thing was not a joke and whether it had 
not perhaps been your intention to write a parody 
of the so-called Music of the Future. Was it not 

a ln musical matters. Translator. 



264 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

on purpose that without exception you put every rule 
of harmony to scorn from the higher syntax to the 
most ordinary conventions of correct composition? 
But for the psychological interest for despite all 
their confusion, your feverish musical productions 
display an exceptionally distinguished spirit your 
Meditation, from the musical standpoint can only 
be compared to a crime in the moral world. I was 
utterly unable to find the faintest trace of any Apol 
lonian elements in its composition, and as for those 
of the Dionysian order, I must confess that your 
piece reminded me more of the morrow of a Bac 
chanalian festival than of the festival itself. If you 
really feel a passionate call to express yourself in the 
language of music it is essential that you should 
master the first elements of that language. A reeling 
imagination revelling in the memory of Wagnerian 
chords is not a fit basis for creative work. 

The most outlandish Wagnerian audacities, apart 
from the fact that they spring quite naturally from 
the dramatic texture and are justified by the words 
(in purely instrumental passages, as every one 
knows, it avoids such atrocities) are always correct 
from the standpoint of language indeed they are so 
down to the smallest detail of notation. If the in 
sight of a thoroughly educated musical scholar like 
Dr. Hanslick 1 is inadequate to this purpose, it fol 
lows that to form any proper estimate of Wagner 
as a musician, a man must be a musician and a half. 
If, my dear Professor, you really meant this aber- 



z Eduard Hanslick, the anti- Wagnerian critic of the Vien 
nese "Freie Presse" Translator, 



FBI ED RICH NIETZSCHE 265 

ration in the realm of composition seriously which 
I cannot still help doubting do at least try to con 
fine yourself to vocal music, and let the words of 
the song steer you in the boat you sail on the wild 
waters of music. 

Once again, no offence I hope for you yourself 
called your music "execrable", you are right; it is 
even more execrable than you imagine. True it is 
not generally harmful, but it is worse than that, it is 
harmful to yourself and you could not possibly em 
ploy any surplus leisure you may have more badly 
than by torturing Euterpe in the way you do. 

If you declare that I have overstepped the utter 
most limits of the most elementary civility I shall not 
attempt to deny it. Please discern in my uncom 
promising frankness (rudeness) the proof of my 
equally sincere respect. Really, after all I have 
said, I cannot make this lame excuse. I simply could 
not help giving full vent to my indignation at all 
such anti-musical experiments in tone. Perhaps I 
ought to direct a portion of this indignation against 
myself, for, seeing that I am responsible for Tris 
tan s having been performed once more, I am indi 
rectly to blame for having plunged so lofty and en 
lightened a mind as yours, my dear Professor, into 
such regrettable pianoforte convulsions. 1 

Perhaps, however, you will be cured by Lohengrin 
on the 30th. I am sorry to say, however, that it wall 
not be performed under my direction but under that 



Frau Forster Nietzsche here makes the following note: 
"This is a mistake. The composition had already been finished 
in the spring of 1872." 



266 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

of the regular Court Conductor, Wiillner. I re 
hearsed and studied it in the year 1867. The dates 
for the Flying Dutchman and Tristan are not yet 
settled. Some say the 3rd and 6th of August, others 
the 5th and 10th. I am not in a position to give 
you any official information on the matter, for until 
Sunday everybody from His Excellency to the hum 
blest of the singers will remain in the country to en 
joy the holidays. 

Once again I feel the same embarrassment as I 
felt when I first took up my pen to write to you. 
Please do not be too vexed with me, dear Sir, and 
be so good as to think of me only as one who was genu 
inely edified and instructed by your magnificent 
book, which it is to be hoped will be followed by 
many like it and who is therefore deeply and re 
spectfully grateful to you. 

H. VON BtfLOW. 



Note by Frau Forster Nietzsche: With his pro 
digious frankness Nietzsche made no attempt to con 
ceal this letter from his friends. On August 2, 1872, 
he sent it to Rohde, for instance, with the following 
lines : "I have at last been given a real lesson in con 
nection with the composition which I played to you 
all at Bayreuth last Whitsuntide. The honesty of 
Billow s letter makes it most invaluable to me. Read 
it, laugh at me, and believe me when I say that it 
puts me in such a holy terror of myself that since I 
received it I have not been able to touch a piano." 
As, however, even among musicians themselves voices 
were raised accusing Btilow of a lack of profound 



FBIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 267 

penetration (even Liszt thought Billow s judgment 
was "very desperate" ) Nietzsche answered his friend 
with his customary gentleness and impartiality as 
follows : 

NIETZSCHE TO HANS VON BULOW. 

Bale, October 29, 1872. 
DEAR SIR: 

I have indeed allowed myself time, have 1 not, 
thoroughly to digest the admonition in your last let 
ter, and to thank you most heartily for it. Rest per 
fectly assured that I should never have dared, even 
for fun, to solicit your opinion of my "music" if I 
had had the faintest suspicion of its total unworthi- 
ness! Unfortunately up to the present no one has 
shaken me out of my harmless conceit and out of the 
fantastic notion that, however amateurish and 
grotesque it might be, I was able to write what was 
to myself at least thoroughly "natural" music. Now, 
when I meditate on your letter, I realize, though 
perhaps but vaguely, the unnatural dangers to which 
I have exposed myself through this laisser aller. 
Nevertheless I still cannot help believing that your 
judgment would have been a trifle more favourable 
only just a trifle more if I had played you that 
piece of bad music in my own way, badly, but with 
expression. Owing to lack of technical skill much of 
it has probably been put on paper in so bandy-legged 
a fashion as necessarily to offend a true musician s 
sense of propriety and purity. 

Just think that until now, from my earliest child 
hood onwards, I have lived thus in the maddest of 



268 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

illusions, and have found so much delight in my mu 
sic! So you can imagine the state of my "enlight 
ened understanding" of which you seem to have such 
a high opinion. The question as to whence this de 
light arose continues to be a problem to me. It 
seemed somewhat irrational, and though I could see 
neither to the left nor the right of it, the delight re 
mained. And in connection with this Manfred music 
in particular I had such fierce, such defiantly pa 
thetic sensations; it gave me the same joy as a piece 
of diabolical irony. My other "music" is and this 
I hope you will believe more human, softer and 
purer. 

The very title itself was ironical for I could not 
help considering Byron s Manfred, which as a boy 
was almost my favourite poem, as a madly formless 
and monotonous monstrosity. Now, however, I shall 
hold my peace about it and I assure you that since 
your letter has taught me a lesson I shall do only 
what is becoming in music. You have helped me 
very much indeed this is an admission that still 
causes me no little pain to make. 

Do you think the enclosed pamphlet by Professor 
Rohde would give you any pleasure? 1 The notion 
"Wagnerian philologist" is surely new. As you see 
there are two of them already. 

Do not think ill of me, my dear sir, and do me the 
favour of forgetting the anguish both as a man and 
as a musician to which you were subjected by the com- 



^ohde s address to Richard Wagner, written in reply to 
Willamowitz Mollendorf s attack on Nietzsche s "Birth of 
Tragedy" and entitled "Zukunftsphilologie," 



FRIED RICH NIETZSCHE 260 

position I so thoughtlessly sent you, while, I for my 
part, shall certainly never forget your letter and words 
of good counsel. I say what children say when they 
have done something foolish: "I will never do it 
again," and remain, with the same feelings of regard 
and respect for you, sir, as you knew me before, 
Ever your devoted, 

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 



Note by Frau Forster Nietzsche: How far it lay 
from Nietzsche to bear any grudge against Billow is 
proved by his attitude as revealed in a letter written 
about the following matter: The Allgemeine Deutsche 
Musikverein (the National German Musical Society) 
proposed to award a prize for the best essay on Wag 
ner s Nibelungen poem, and they entrusted the direc 
tion of the competition to Professor Carl Riedel, the 
founder and leader of the Riedel Society in Leipzig, 
who had been a student in Nietzsche s class at Bale. 
Riedel at once applied to Nietzsche, asking him to be 
one of the judges and to propose two more. Nietzsche 
replied to this request as follows: "Let us use the 
utmost severity and caution in the choice of the third 
judge! If you would be so kind as to listen to a pro 
posal I have to make, I would suggest Herr Hans von 
Billow, of whose thoroughly sound judgment and crit 
ical rigour I have the highest opinion based on the 
most excellent experience. It is of the utmost import 
ance that we should have a name that sounds well 
and is at the same time stimulating and forbidding 
and that name is Billow. Do you not agree with 



270 SELECTED LET TEES OF 

me?" The choice of Billow was not entertained only 
because the competition for the Prize Essay was not 
a musical but a purely literary one. 

HANS VON BILLOW TO NIETZSCHE. 

Baden-Baden, August 29, 1873. 
MY DEAR PROFESSOR : 

Pray accept my heartiest thanks for your continued 
feelings of friendship for me, the most precious proof 
of which has just reached me in the shape of your 
excellent philippic against the Philistine David, 1 
which I read and re-read to the end with real gau- 
dium. (At the present moment the book is in the 
hands of Dr. Ludwig Nohl 2 , who asked me to lend it 
to him.) 

Your characterization of the Philistine of Culture, 
of the Maecenas of Culture without style, is a genu 
inely manly deed of words, worthy of the author of 
the "Birth of Tragedy." Ecr . . . Tint 8 . . . 
would have to be the work of a modern Voltaire. The 
aesthetic International is far more odious to people 
like ourselves than that of the black or red bandits. 4 

I am anxiously waiting for the second of the 
"Thoughts Out of Season." I hope to greet you in 
person in Switzerland during the course of October 
and with renewed thanks and deepest respect. 
I remain, Y our devoted, 

HANS VON BtiLOW. 

*David Strauss. Translator. 

2 Privatdocent of musical history in Heidelberg. Trans 
lator. 

Ecrasez 1 Internationale. Translator. 
Clericals or socialists. Translator. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 271 

HANS VON BULOW TO NIETZSCHE. 
London, November 1, 1874. 
27 Duke Street, Manchester Square. 
MY DEAR PROFESSOR : 

On my return from my first concert here from the 
enclosed programme you will see that the preparation 
for the surprise afforded me by your present was 
quite "in keeping" I had the pleasure of receiving 
your new book 1 which Professor Hillebrand very 
kindly forwarded to me via Florence. Pray accept 
my heartiest thanks for your kind recollection of my 
old admiration for the author of the "Birth of Trag 
edy" and my assurance that I will read your essay on 
Schopenhauer, which seems to me "so subjective" a 
conception, through to the end with all the attention 
you deserve. I even read as far as Sec. 5 last night. If 
only I might see in the freshness of this new production 
of yours a refutation of the rumours that have lately 
reached me about the alarming state of health of its 
author. So the "matrigna" 2 nature a coinage of 
Leopardi s is not blind every day, but imparts en 
durance and firmness of purpose to those who have 
to fulfil the duties of higher educators. If only things 
could have gone with you as they did with me last 
summer, when after having been forced to go in for a 
spell of complete "relaxation" in order to recover 
from three months of the most wretched marasmus, 
to my great astonishment I found that with the help 
of a moderate course of hydrotherapy I was once more 

J The third of the "Thoughts Out of Season." Translator. 
Stepmother. Translator. 



272 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

in the active possession of all the accessories necessary 
for the struggle for existence. 

"Public opinion - - private indolence" 1 brilliant! 
This is another of those household words which, like 
the "Philistine of Culture", is sure to enjoy a wide 
popularity even in the environment of that gentleman 
himself. Bismarck ought to quote it in Parliament! 

Would you allow me to tell you of an idea I have 
long cherished which found its way above my own 
clearly unsuitable head to you, the elect, so that you 
should act as its intermediary? 

Schopenhauer s great Latin brother Leopard! still 
seems to wait in vain for an introduction to the Ger 
man people. His prose is more important to us than 
his poetry which, as you know, was translated into 
German in 69 by Gustav Brandes, and I believe more 
recently by others (Lobedanz?). 2 But a translation 
in the ordinary sense of the word is no good. What 
is needed is a rendering dictated by affinity of thought 
and spirit. 

If only you would be the "Schlegel" in this case! 
Also with profound apologies! may I suggest that 
even from the purely material point of view the time 
spent on such a work would in no wise be lost. A 



"Note by Frau Foerster-Nietzsche : "This concise render 
ing of one of the ideas incidentally expressed in Schopenhauer 
as Educator pleased Nietzsche so much, that in Human All 
Too Human he adopted it in honor of Billow." 

-Note by Frau Foerster-Nietzsche: "Lobedanz made no 
translations from the Italian. Biilow must mean Hamerling, 
although the latter s translation did not appear after, but three 
years before that of Brandes. As to Paul Heyse s translations 
of Leqpardi, only a few of them had at that time appeared 
in periodicals." 



FEIEDEICH NIETZSCHE 273 

German translation of the Dialoghi and the Pensieri 
would sell like hot cakes. N. B. Do you possess Leo- 
pardfs works? I could send you my copy from Mu 
nich (it is the best Livorno edition) at once. 

I think you will agree with me when I say that I 
should be better employed this Sunday in continuing 
the reading of your book than in soiling any more 
clean sheets of note-paper. Moreover I want to lend 
it to your admirer Dannreuther 1 whom I am meeting 
to-morrow. Later on, too, I should like to show it to 
Franz Heuffer, 2 who is now busily engaged in pre 
paring an English translation of "The World as Will 
and Idea." 

With best thanks and heartiest greetings I am ever, 
with deep respect, yours, 

HANS VON BtlLOW. 

NIETZSCHE TO HANS VON BULOW. 

Naumburg, 2. 1. 1875. 
MY DEAR SIR : 

I felt much too delighted and honoured by your 
letter not to give your suggestion about Leopardi 
very mature consideration. I know his prose work 
only a little of it certainly. A friend of mine in Bale 
has often translated passages of it and read them to 



"Edward Dannreuther was a well-known Wagnerian, 
who lived in London. In 1872 he founded the Wagner Society, 
the concerts of which he conducted. Translator. 

^ Dr. Franz Heuffer was a fellow student of Nietzsche s at 
Leipzig. At this time he was contributing articles to German 
newspapers and writing notices about the musical world of 
London. Translator. 



274 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

me, and each time I was filled with surprise and ad 
miration. We have got the latest Livorno edition! 
(Just lately, too, a French work on Leopardi has 
appeared, published by Didier; the name of the au 
thor has escaped me is it Boute? 1 ) The poems I 
know through a translation of Hamerling s. But for 
my part I do not understand enough Italian, and al 
though a philologist by trade, I am alas ! by no means 
a linguist (the German language is a hard enough 
nut for me to crack). 

But the worst of it is, I have no time. I have re 
solved to employ the next five years in working out 
the remaining ten "Thoughts Out of Season," and 
thus purge my soul as much as possible of all its 
wilderness of polemical passion. As a matter of fact, 
however, I hardly see how I am going to find time 
for it all, for not only am I a University lecturer, 
but I also have a Greek class in the Teachers Training 
School at Bale. Hitherto my literary productions 
(I should not like to call them either "books" or 
"pamphlets" ) have all been tricked out of either short 
vacations or times of illness, and I even had to dic 
tate the Straussiad because at that time I could nei 
ther read nor write. As my bodily condition is now 
very good and no illness appears imminent and as, 
moreover, my daily cold bath seems to guarantee my 
never being ill again, my literary future seems to be 
well-nigh hopeless unless my yearning and striving 
after a country house ever comes to anything. 



Boche-Leclerq. "Giocomo Leopardi. His Life and Works." 
(Pris, 1874.) Translator. 



FRIED RICH NIETZSCHE 275 

Of course, my dear sir, you will never allow your 
self to be concerned with such a modest possibility, 
and that is why I must beg you not to think of me in 
regard to your plan. The fact, however, that you 
should have thought of me in that connection denotes 
a degree of sympathy over which I cannot sufficiently 
rejoice, although I realize perfectly well that for such 
a position of mediator between Italy and Germany 
there are many more worthy and suitable men than 
myself. 

Ever in deep respect, 

Your devoted, 
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 

NIETZSCHE TO HANS VON BULOW. 

[Santa Margherita near Genoa, December, 1882] 
MY DEAR SIR: 

Thanks to a fortunate accident I have just discov 
ered that despite the loneliness that alienates me 
from everyone and to which I have been forced ever 
since 1876 you have not grown strange to me; this 
thought gives me a pleasure hard to describe. It 
comes to me like a gift and also like something on 
which I have waited and in which I have believed. 
Whenever your name has occurred to me it has al 
ways made me feel stouter-hearted and more confi 
dent, and whenever by chance I heard from you, I 
felt at once that it must be something good that I 
should understand. There are few men that I have 
so uniformly praised in my life as you. Pardon! 
What right have I to "praise" you ! 

Meanwhile I have for years lived a little too near 



276 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

to death, and what is worse to pain. It seems my 
fate to be tormented and burnt as if by a slow fire; 
however, I know nothing of the sagacity "that makes 
one lose one s wits through it all." I will make no 
mention of the dangerous nature of my emotions, but 
this I must say, the altered manner in which I think 
and feel and which has been expressed even in my 
writings during the last six years, has sustained me 
in life and almost made me quite healthy. What do I 
care when my friends assert that my present attitude 
of a "free spirit" is an eccentric pose, a resolve made, 
as it w r ere, with clenched teeth and wrung by force 
and imposed upon my genuine inclinations? So be it, 
let it be a "second nature" : but I will prove yet that 
with this second nature alone was I able to become 
possessed of my first nature. 

That is what I think of myself : as a matter of fact 
the whole world thinks very badly of me. My visit 
to Germany this year a break in the midst of my 
profound solitude taught me a good deal and fright 
ened me not a little. I found the dear German beast 
ready to spring at me I am not "moral enough" for 
them any longer. 

In short, I am once more an anchorite, and more so 
than ever before, and consequently I am thinking out 
something new. It seems to me that the state of 
pregnancy is the only one that binds us ever anew to 
life. 

Well, then, I am what I have always been, one who 
respects you from his heart. 

Your devoted, DR. FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 
[Santa Margherita Ligure (Italia) poste restante.] 



FEIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 277 

NIETZSCHE TO HANS VON BULOW. 

[Venice, October 22, 1887] 
MY DEAR SIR : 

Once upon a time I sent you a piece of my music 
and you passed sentence of death upon it in the most 
justifiable manner possible in rebus musicis et musi- 
cantibus. And now, in spite of all that, I dare to send 
you something else a Hymn to Life, to which I at 
tach all the more the hope that it will be allowed to 
live. One day either in the near or the remote future, 
it will be sung to my memory, to the memory of a 
philosopher who had no contemporaries, and who did 
not even wish to have them. Does he deserve it? . . . 

Be this as it may, it is quite possible that I may 
have learnt something during the last ten years, even 
as a musician. 

Always as of old, your devoted friend, 

DR. F. NIETZSCHE. 

MARIE VON BULOW (NfiE SCHANZER) TO NIETZSCHE. 

Hamburg, October 26, 1887. 
Alsterglacis. 10. 
DEAR SIR : 

During the course of this week my husband has 
been so overwhelmed with work that he has not been 
able to answer your kind letter himself, much less 
read the music you were good enough to send him. 
As I number myself among your admirers, dear sir 
"at least, in so far as my limited intelligence permits" 
I take the liberty of writing you these few lines 



278 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

on Billow s behalf and conveying to you his regret 
at being unable to give any more satisfactory reply. 
With the expression of our deepest respect, 

I am, your devoted friend, 
MARIE VON BULOW. 

BURCKHARDT TO NIETZSCHE. 

Bale, February 25, 1874. 
MY DEAR COLLEAGUE : 

While thanking you most sincerely for the 
"Thoughts Out of Season," you so kindly sent me, I 
can for the present say only a few words about the 
work as the result of a rapid survey. As a matter of 
fact I have no right even to this, for the work is one 
which exacts very mature and careful consideration, 
but the subject lies so near one s heart that one is 
tempted to say something at once. 

In the first place my poor brain has never been 
able to reflect nearly deeply enough upon the ultimate 
principles, aims, and desiderata of the science of 
history, as you have been able to do. As a teacher 
and a university lecturer I am entitled to say that 
I have never taught history for the sake of what is 
pathetically called Universal History, but essentially 
merely as a preliminary subject. I had to make my 
pupils familiar with that framework with which they 
could not dispense in the pursuit of all their other 
studies, if everything was not to hang meaninglessly 
in mid-air. I have done the best I could to guide 
them to an independent assimilation of the past in 
whatever form and to prevent this form of study 



FRIEDBICH NIETZSCHE 279 

being distasteful to them. My desire was to enable 
them to pluck the fruit with their own hands. Nor 
did I ever dream of rearing a breed of scholars or 
disciples in the narrow sense; I merely aimed at in 
spiring each of my students with one desire and con 
viction namely, that it was feasible and justifiable 
for him to make his own that portion of the past which 
was particularly suited to his own individuality, and 
that there was a chance of his deriving some enjoy 
ment from the process. 

I am well aware that such aspirations may be 
condemned as leading to amateurishness, and I con 
sole myself with the thought. At my advanced age 
one has to be grateful to Heaven if one has found, 
even for the particular institution one belongs to in 
concrete, an approximative guiding principle in re 
gard to teaching. 

I do not mean this as a vindication, nor do you, 
my dear colleague, expect anything of the sort from 
me. I mean it simply as a sort of rapid reflection 
upon that for which one has hitherto striven and con 
centrated all one s will. Your kind quotation of me 
on p. 29 has somewhat disturbed me. 1 It occurred to 
me when I read it that the metaphor was after all 
not quite my own, and that Schnase may once have 
expressed himself in that way. Well, I only hope that 
no one will take me to task about it. 

This time you will stir a large number of readers 
inasmuch as you have brought sharply into focus a 
truly tragic incongruity the antagonism between 

*See page 25 of the English Edition of "The Use and Abuse 
of History." (Vol. V of the Complete Authorized Edition.) 



280 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

historical knowledge and ability, personality, and also 
that between the enormous accumulation of the col 
lecting science in general and the material impulses 
of the age. With reiterated thanks, 

I remain, 
Your devoted, 

J. BURCKHARDT. 
BURCKHARDT TO NIETZSCHE. 

Bale, April 5, 1879. 

Your letter reached me at a moment when I was 
just on the point of making a two-days excursion in 
search of pleasant recreation, while you, dear friend, 
are obliged to suffer so ! If only the climate of Geneva 
would bring you some relief ! If a bise noire 1 should 
come, don t forget to take refuge in the eastern cor 
ner of the lake. 

I duly received the supplement to "Human-all-too- 
Human" from Messrs. Schmeitzner, and have read it 
and relished it with ever increasing astonishment at 
the abundance of your intellectual powers. As every 
body knows I have never penetrated into the temple 
of real thought, but all my life I have enjoyed my 
self in the court and halls of the peribolos where the 
figurative in the extremest sense of the word, reigns 
supreme. Now your book contains the most varied 
and richest supply of food for just such a careless 
pilgrim as myself. And even where I cannot quite 
follow you I watch with mingled fear and felicity the 
certainty of step with which you wander about the 



lf The ill-famed north wind of Geneva. Translator. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 281 

most vertiginous precipices, and endeavour to form 
some sort of image of all you must be able to see in 
the depths and away across the plains. 

I wonder what Larochefoucauld, Labruyere, and 
Vauvenargues 1 would think if they happened to read 
your book in Hades? And what would old Montaigne 
say? In any case I know of a number of aphorisms 
that would make Larochefoucauld, for instance, envy 
you most profoundly. 

With hearty thanks and best wishes for your health, 

Yours, 

J. BURCKHARDT. 



BURCKHARDT TO NIETZSCHE. 

Bale, July 20, 1881. 
DEAR FRIEND : 2 

I am still turning over the leaves of your extraor 
dinarily rich book with great relish. As you sus 
pected, it is quite true there is a good deal of it that 
goes against my grain, but then my grain is not neces 
sarily the only true grain. What I am principally 
and especially grateful to you for (as I have already 
been in the case of your earlier works, particularly 
"Human-all-too-Hunian," etc.), is the daring point of 
view from which you envisage the life of antiquity. I 
myself had the germs of a few of your ideas, but you 
see everything so clearly, and your glance carries so 

a B. was like N., an admirer of these French Moralists. 
a A letter of thanks on the receipt of Nietzsche s "Dawn of 
Day." 



282 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

much further and takes in so much more. You will 
meet with many sympathisers in connection with that 
capital aphorism entitled: "The So-called Classical 
Education." 1 

As to the other parts of the book, it is with some 
giddiness that I, as an old man, watch the way in 
which you, without any signs of vertigo, wander about 
the highest precipices. In all probability a commu 
nity will gradually form and increase in the valley, 
whose members will at least be attracted by the sight 
of so daring a climber of precipitous heights. 

With my best and kindest wishes for your health, 
I am your devoted friend, 

J. BURCKHARDT. 

NIETZSCHE TO BURCKHARDT. 
Naumburg on the Saale, August, 1882. 

Well, my very dear friend 2 or what shall I call 
you pray accept with good-will what I am sending 
you with good-will prepense. For, if you should not 
do this, my book, "The Joyful Wisdom" will provide 
you only with food for mockery (it is a little too 
personal, and everything personal is, as a matter of 
fact, comical). 

After all I have at last reached a point at which 
I am able to live as I think, and I may perhaps also 
have learned to express what I really think. On that 



Aphorism 195 in the above book. 

" Letter accompanying "The Joyful Wisdom." (Vol. X of 
the Complete Authorized English Translation of Nietzsche s 
Works.) 



FEIEDKICH NIETZSCHE 283 

point I shall listen to your verdict as that of a final 
judge. I should be particularly glad if you could 
read Sanctus Januariiis (Book IV) consecutively so 
as to be able to tell me whether it conveys the impres 
sion of being a whole. 
And what about my verses? 
With cordial devotion, 

Yours, 
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 



BURCKHARDT TO NIETZSCHE. 

Bale, September 13, 1882. 
DEAREST FRIEND : 

Your "Joyful Wisdom" reached me three days ago 
and you can imagine the renewed astonishment it 
produced in me. To begin with I marvelled at the 
unwonted cheerful lute-like Goethean ring of your 
verses, a thing Avhich I never expected from you 
and then the whole book and Sanctus Jamiarius at 
the end! Am I mistaken, or is this last section not 
a special monument you raised to one of the last 
winters you spent in the south? It certainly appears 
a complete whole. The question that always puzzles 
me is what would happen if you ever taught history. 
At bottom, of course, you are always teaching his 
tory, and in this book you have suggested many a 
surprising historical standpoint, but I should like to 
suggest that quite ex professo you should shed your 
kind of light upon universal history and in the focus 



284 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

which is within your illuminating power. How pret 
tily and how contrary to the present consensus popu- 
lorum 1 would a whole host of questions be turned 
topsy-turvy ! How glad I am that I have long since 
been in the habit of leaving the generally accepted 
desiderata ever more and more in the rear, and have 
contented myself with recording events without too 
many flattering comments or too many lamentations. 
However, a good deal of what you write (and the 
most excellent part, I fear) is far above my head; 
but wherever I am able to follow you I have a re 
freshing feeling of admiration for your enormous and 
so to speak concentrated wealth of thought, and real 
ize how well off we should be in our science if we 
could see things with your eyes. Unfortunately, at 
my age one ought to be content if one is able to col 
lect new material without forgetting the old, and if as 
an aged coachman one can go on driving along the ac 
customed highway without mishap until the day comes 
when the order is given to unharness one s team. 

It will take some time before I can proceed from 
my hurried perusal of your book to a more careful 
reading of it ; but this has been so with all your books. 
I shall not be put out by the potentiality to tyranny 
which you reveal on p. 234, paragraph 325.2 

[With hearty good wishes, 
I am ever your devoted, 

J. BUBCKHABDT. 



Unanimity of Nations." Translator. 
2 Page 250 in the English Edition. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 285 

NIETZSCHE TO BURCKHARDT. 
Rome, Via Polveriera 4. (Maire 2.) 

June, 1883. 
MY DEAR PROFESSOR 1 : 

I now want for nothing save a good chat with you ! 
After having cleared up the question of the "meaning 
of my life" how glad should I not be to listen to 
what you have to say on the "meaning of all life" 
(for the present I am more of an "ear" than anything 
else) ; but this time the summer has not directed me 
to Bale but to Rome! As to the little book I send 
herewith I can only say this : at one time or another 
every one of us unbosoms himself, and the kindness 
he thereby shows himself is so great that he can 
scarcely understand how deeply he has hurt every 
one else in the process. 

I have an inkling that this time I shall hurt you 
more than I have ever done hitherto, but I also know 
that you, who have always been so good to me, will be 
even more so henceforward! 

You know, don t you, how much I love and honour 

you! 

Yours 

NIETZSCHE. 

BURCKHARDT TO NIETZSCHE. 

Bale, September 10, 1883. 
MY DEAR FRIEND: 

On my return last Friday I found your kind letter 
and your "Thus spake Zarathustra." This time your 

This letter accompanied the first part of "Thus Spake 
Zarathustra." Translator. 



286 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

work does not consist of a series of settled individual 
reflections as has been the case hitherto, but of a re 
sounding and mighty discourse upon the whole of life 
from one pair of lips. It seems to me that in Ger 
man countries it must enter those homes where, hig 
gledy-piggledy, it will provoke both anger and enthus 
iasm. In any case it will be sure to provoke anger ; 
for, this time, dear friend, you have made things par 
ticularly difficult for poor mortal men. But even 
those who feel angry with the book canot help being 
attracted by it. As for myself, I find a peculiar pleas 
ure in listening to someone calling to me from a watch- 
tower high up above my head and telling me of the 
horizons and depths he can descry. It is then that 
I realize how superficial I have been all my life, 
and, to judge by my sort of relative activity, that I 
am likely to remain so. For at my age a man is no 
longer capable of changing the most he can do is 
to grow older and weaker. 

Hoping that the sky at Rome may prove beneficial 
to your health, T remain> 

Ever your devoted friend, 

J. BURCKHARDT. 

NIETZSCHE TO BURCKHARDT. 
Sils-Maria, Oberengadin, September 22, 1886. 
MY VERY DEAR PROFESSOR r 1 

I am truly pained at not having seen you or spoken 
to you for so long! With whom would I fain speak, 



This letter accompanied "Beyond Good and Evil." Trans 
lator. 



FEIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 287 

forsooth, if I may no longer speak to you ! The "sir 
lentium" about me -increases daily. 

Meanwhile I trust C. G. Naumann has done his 
duty and sen* you my last book. Please read it (al 
though it says the same things as my "Zarathustra," 
but differently, very- differently). I can think of no 
one who has a greater number of first principles in 
common with me than you have. It seems to me that 
you have faced the same problems as I have that 
you are working upon the same problems in a similar 
way, perhaps even in. a more powerful and more pro 
found way than I, because you are more silent. But 
then it should be remembered that I am the younger 
man. . . . The terrible conditions that determine 
every advance in culture, the extremely ticklish re 
lation between what is called the "improvement" of 
mankind (or rather "humanization") and the "en 
hancement" of the type man; above all the conflict of 
every moral concept with every scientific notion of 
life but enough, enough! Here is a problem which 
fortunately, it seems* to me, we may have in common 
with very few of our contemporaries or predecessors. 
To give expression to it is perhaps the greatest feat 
of daring on- earth, and that not so much on the part 
of him who dares it, as of those whom he addresses. 
My consolation is that, in the first place, the ears for 
apprehending my prodigious novelties are lacking 
your ears excepted, my dear and honoured friend. But 
to you, on the other hand, they will not be "novelties" ! 

Your devoted friend, 
DR. FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 

Address Gcnova, fcrma in posta. 



288 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

BURCKHARDT TO NIETZSCHE. 

Bale, September 26, 1886. 
MY VERY DEAR SIR : 

First of all, let ine thank you most heartily for 
sending me your latest work, which reached me safely ; 
and let me congratulate you on the unimpaired vigour 
with which it is permeated. 

Unfortunately, as your letter which has since 
reached me clearly shows, you overrate my capacities 
far too much. I have never been able to follow up 
problems such as those you tackle, nor have I ever 
succeeded even in understanding their very premises. 
I have never in my life had a philosophical brain, and 
even the past history of philosophy is as good as a 
closed book to me. I could not even claim as much 
understanding as the scholars who have brought upon 
themselves your strictures on page 135. 1 

Whenever in the contemplation of history I have 
encountered more general intellectual facts, I have 
never done more than was absolutely necessary in the 
circumstances, but have referred to more accredited 
authorities. The elements in your work that I un 
derstand best are your historical judgments, and 
above all your glances into the age; your remarks 
on the will of nations, and its temporary paralysis; 
on the antithesis between the insurance of well-being 
on a grand scale and the desirability of education by 
means of danger ; on industry and "hard work" as de 
structive of the religious instinct ; on the herd-individ 
ual of to-day and his pretensions ; on democracy as the 



Aphorism 204 in the English Edition. Translator. 



FKIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 289 

lineal heir of Christianity; and especially on the fu 
ture strong men of the world! Here you describe 
and lay bare the probable conditions of their rise and 
their existence in a manner that cannot fail to arouse 
the deepest interest. Compared with this how confused 
and embarrassed appear the thoughts by which, at 
times men such as myself are troubled with regard 
to the general destiny of present-day Europeans. 
The book is far above my old head, and I feel quite 
foolish when I become conscious of the astonishing 
range of your vision over the whole domain of modern 
thought and your power and art of subtle differen 
tiation in defining individual phenomena. 

How gladly would I have gathered some news of 
your health from your kind letter. As for me, owing 
to my advanced years, I have resigned my Professor 
ship of History, and for the time being shall only con 
tinue my lectures on the history of art. 

With kindest regards, 
Your devoted friend, 
J. BURCKHARDT. 

NIETZSCHE TO BURCKHARDT. 
Nice (France) Pension de Geneve 
November 14, 1887. 
MY DEAR PROFESSOR : 

This autumn I once again crave permission to pre 
sent you with an example of my work, a moralo-histor- 
ical study entitled "The Genealogy of Morals." And 
once more, as on every occasion hitherto, I send you 
my latest work not without misgivings. For, I know 



290 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

only too well, that all the dishes served up by me 
contain so many hard and indigestible elements that 
to invite guests to share them, especially when the 
guests are as distinguished as yourself, is more an 
abuse of friendliness and hospitality than anything 
else. With such feats of nut-cracking one ought to 
remain discreetly alone, and imperil only one s own 
teeth. For in this latest of my works I deal with 
psychological problems of the very hardest descrip 
tion, so much so, indeed, that almost more courage 
is required to put them than to venture on any sort 
of answer to them. Will you grant me your attention 
once more? ... In any case I owe you these 
treatises, because they are most intimately connected 
with the last work I sent you ("Beyond Good and 
Evil"). Perhaps one or two of the leading princi 
ples of that difficult book are stated more plainly in 
this one at least that was my intention. For the 
whole world has been unanimous in declaring that 
they could not discover the slightest meaning in "Be 
yond Good and Evil" and that it must be a book of 
"superior rubbish"; two readers only excepted: your 
self, my dear Professor, and Monsieur Taine, one of 
your most grateful admirers in France. Forgive me 
if I console myself with the thought that hitherto I 
have had only two readers, but such readers! The 
exceedingly spiritual and painfully complex life I 
have led hitherto (and thanks to which my constitu 
tion, which is at bottom* a strong one, has been shat 
tered) has gradually led me into a state of lonely iso 
lation for which there is now no cure. My favourite 
consolation is always to bear in mind those few men 



FKIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 291 

who have endured similar conditions without falling 
to pieces, and have known how to preserve a kind and 
lofty soul in their breasts in spite of all. No one can 
be more grateful to you than I am, my dear distin 
guished friend. 

Ever your devoted and unchanging friend, 

NIETZSCHE. 

P. S. Last, but not least, my best wishes for your 
health! This winter promises to be severe. Oh, if 
only you were here! 

NIETZSCHE TO BURCKHARDT. 

S<ls-Maria, Autumn, 1888. 
MY DEAR PROFESSOR : 

Herewith I take the liberty of sending you a small 
aesthetic treatise which, however much it may have 
been intended as a respite amid the serious preoccu 
pations of my life task, is nevertheless in its way a 
serious work. You must not let yourself be led astray 
for one instant by its tone of levity and irony. Per 
haps I have a right to speak clearly for once about 
this "Case of Wagner" maybe it is even my duty to 
do so. The movement is now at the zenith of its glory. 
Three-quarters of the musicians of Europe are now 
wholly or partly convinced, from St. Petersburg to 
Paris, Bologna and Montevideo, the theatres are living 
on this art, and only yesterday, even the young Ger 
man Kaiser characterized the whole of the Wagner 
movement as a national affair of the first magnitude, 

*This letter accompanied "The Case of Wagner." 



292 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

and placed himself at the head of it. These are suf 
ficient reasons for allowing me to enter the lists. I 
admit that in view of the international European 
character of the problem, the essay should not have 
been written in German but in French. Up to a cer 
tain point it is written in French, and at all events it 
might prove an easier task to translate it into French 
than into German. . . . 

It is no secret to me that not long ago, on a certain 
day, a whole city, with reverential gratitude, piously 
showed its recognition of its first teacher and bene 
factor. With all due modesty I ventured to add my 
own personal feelings to those of that city. With deep 
love and respect, 

Yours, 
DR. FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 

(My address till the middle of November will be 
Torino, poste restante. One word from you would 
make me happy). 

Frau Forster Nietzsche adds the following interest 
ing note to the Nietzsche-Burckhardt letters: 

"Jacob Burckhardt did not reply to this last let 
ter, in spite of the touching request it contained and 
on the occasion of a flying visit to me in 1895 he told 
me that his reason for not doing so was that he had 
not understood the book which accompanied it. He 
had already found some difficulty in understanding 
The Genealogy of Morals, and that is why on the 
receipt of this book he only thanked my brother very 
briefly and held out hopes of a letter to follow. From 



FEIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 293 

the way in which he spoke of these things, I could 
not help thinking that the last few books my brother 
sent him only distressed him, with the exception, of 
course, of Beyond Good and EviP, of which he wrote 
with appreciation. Although at the time of his visit 
to me he was already a great sufferer, and it was 
obviously difficult for him to recall the details of the 
past, he nevertheless seemed to remember the contents 
of Beyond Good and Evil. He also seemed to be 
very glad when I told him how much his letter on 
the subject had pleased my brother, but he assured 
me that my brother had done him much too much 
honour a contention with which the readers of these 
letters will scarcely agree." 

HIPPOLYTE TAINE TO NIETZSCHE. 

Meuthin St. Bernard. Hte Savoie. 
October 17, 1886. 
(Translated from the French) 
SIR: 

I found the book you were good enough to send me 
awaiting me on my return home from a journey. It 
is, as you say, full of "hidden meanings". Its lively 
and literary form, its impassioned style and frequent 
paradoxical turns will prove an eye-opener to any 
reader who wishes to understand your meaning. I 
should recommend more particularly to philosophers 
the first part on philosophers and philosophy 1 (Aph, 
11, 13, 16, 20) ; though historians and critics will also 
certainly reap a rich harvest of new ideas (for in- 

Beyond Good and Evil." 



294 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

stance Aph. 28, 58, 209). What you say on the sub 
ject of national character in your 8th essay is ex 
tremely suggestive. I shall read that part again, 
though you are far too flattering about me. Your 
letter does me high honour in placing me beside Pro 
fessor Burckhardt of Bale, a man for whom I have 
the greatest admiration. I believe I was the first 
person in France to call attention in the press to his 
great work on "The Culture of the Renaissance in 
Italy." 

I beg you to accept my sincerest thanks and with 
kindest regards, 

I remain, 

Yours sincerely, 

H. TAINE. 



NIETZSCHE TO HIPPOLYTE TAINE. 

Sils-Maria, Oberengadin, July 4, 1887. 
MY DEAR SIR : 

There are so many things I have to thank you for 
first and foremost for the indulgent kindness of your 
letter, in which your remarks about Jakob Burck 
hardt pleased me particularly, and also for your ex 
ceptionally powerful and simple characterization of 
Napoleon in the Revue which I came across by the 
merest chance last May, I was fairly well prepared 
for it (by a book recently published by M. Barbey 
d Aurevilly, the last chapter of which dealing with 
Napoleonic literature sounded like a long drawn out 
cry of desire for what? undoubtedly for just such 
an explanation and solution as you have given us of 



FEIEDEICH NIETZSCHE 295 

that tremendous problem of the Monster and the Su 
perman). Neither must I forget to tell you how de 
lighted I was to come across your name in the dedica 
tion of Monsieur Paul Bourget s last novel. But I do 
not like the book. Monsieur B. will never succeed in 
giving a convincing account of a physiological cavity 
in the breast of a fellow creature (a phenomenon 
of this sort is for him merely quelque chose d ar- 
~bitraire from which it is to be hoped his delicate taste 
will henceforward keep him aloof. But it would seem 
that Dostoiewsky s spirit allows this Parisian novelist 
no peace?) And now, dear sir, please be patient with 
me and permit me to hand you two of my books that 
have just appeared in a new edition. As you must 
know I am an anchorite and do not concern myself 
over much about readers or about being read. And 
yet ever since I was in my twenties (I am now forty- 
three) I have never lacked distinguished and ex 
tremely loyal individual readers (these have always 
been old men), among them, for instance, I reckon 
Richard Wagner, the old Hegelian Bruno Bauer, my 
honoured colleague Jakob Burckhardt, and that Swiss 
poet, Gottfried Keller/ whom I regard as the only 
living German poet. I should be most deeply gratified 
if I could also count the Frenchman whom I most 
admire among my readers. 

I am very fond of these two books of mine. The 
first, "The Dawn of Day," I wrote in Genoa at a 
time when I was most seriously ill and in very great 
pain. I had been given up by the doctors, death was 



The well-known Swiss novelist. 



296 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

facing me, and I was the victim of incredible priva 
tions and isolation. But at that time I did not wish 
things to be different, and in spite of all I was at 
peace with myself and completely resolute. The other 
work "The Joyful Wisdom," I owe to the first rays 
of sunlight and returning health. It was born one 
year later (1882) also in Genoa, during a sublimely 
bright and sunny fortnight in January. The prob 
lems with which these two books deal bring about 
isolation. May I beg you to accept these from me with 
good will? 

With deep respect, 

I am, 

Dear sir, 

Your devoted servant, 
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE. 

HIPPOLYTE TAINE TO NIETZSCHE. 

Hotel Beausejour. 
Geneva, July 12, 1887. 
(Translated from the French.) 
Sm: 

I am extremely sorry to have been away from home 
when your two books arrived. I am still at Geneva 
undergoing a water-cure, so I must postpone the pleas 
ure of reading your work till my return. You are 
more up to date in your knowledge of contemporary 
French literature than I am, for I had never even 
heard of the article you mention by M. Barbey d Au- 
revilly. I am so glad that my articles on Napoleon 1 



Revue des Deux Mondes. Spring, 1887. Translator. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 297 

seemed to you to ring true. Nothing could sum up 
my feelings about him better than the two German 
words you use Monster and Superman. 1 

Pray, sir, accept my sincerest thanks and the as 
surance of my deep regard, 

Your devoted servant 

HIPPOLYTE TAINE. 

NIETZSCHE TO HIPPOLYTE TAINE. 

Turin, November, 1888. 
(From a Draft) 
Dear Sir : 2 

The book I now venture to place in your hands is 
perhaps the most peculiar book that has ever been 
written and in respect of that for which it prepares 
the ground it is almost a piece of fate. It would be 
of incalculable value to me if it could only be read 
in French. I have readers now in all corners of the 
globe, incidentally there are some in Russia. It is 
unlucky for me that I should write in German, al- 
thought perhaps I write it better than any German 
has ever done before me. At last the French will be 
able to feel through this book the deep sympathy they 
deserve. All my instincts have declared war upon 
Germany (see a special section, p. 50, "Things the 
Germans Lack"). 

Could you just send me a hint or two as to whom 
I ought to send copies of this book? ... A per- 



expression is to be found in "The Genealogy of 
Morals", p. 56. Translator. 

Accompanying, "The Twilight of the Idols". 



298 SELECTED LETTEES OF 

feet and even masterly knowledge of German is cer 
tainly the first prerequisite for the task of translating 
it. 

Ever yours in deep respect, 

F. N. 



HIPPOLYTB TAINE TO NIETZSCHE. 

23 Rue Cassette. Paris. 
December 14, 1888. 
(Translated from the French) 
SIR: 

You have done me a great honour in sending me 
your "Twilight of the Idols." I have read your whimsi 
cal remarks (boutades), your humorous Carlylean 
resumes, and your witty and profound dissertations 
on the subject of modern writers. You are quite right 
in thinking that your extremely literary and pictur 
esque German style requires readers who are well 
versed in German idiom. I am not a sufficiently good 
German scholar to be able to understand the full 
boldness and subtlety of your writing at the first 
reading. My knowledge of German is confined to a 
few philosophers and historians. As you are anxious 
to find a really competent reader for your work I 
do not think I should be far wrong in recommending 
Monsieur J. Bourdeau, the editor of Le Journal des 
Debats and La Revue des Deux Mondes. He is an 
extremely cultured broad-minded man acquainted 
with the whole of modern literature. He has travelled 
in Germany and has made a careful study of her 
history and literature from 1815 onwards, and is a 



FKIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 299 

man of taste as well as a scholar. But I cannot say 
whether he has the time to spare at the present mo 
ment. His address is 18 Rue Marignan, Paris. 
Pray accept my heartiest thanks and believe me, 

Sincerely yours, 

H. TAINE. 

NIETZSCHE TO STRINDBERG. 

November, 1888. 
DEAR SIR : 

The precious lines from Monsieur Taine that I en 
close embolden me to ask for your advice on a very 
serious matter. I should like to be read in France; 
nay more, it is necessary for me to be read there. 
Being as I am the most independent and possibly the 
most powerful intellect of the age, condemned to ful 
fill a stupendous mission, I cannot submit to the ab 
surd limits the accursed dynastic national politics 
of Europe have imposed upon her peoples, and I re 
fuse to let such limits prevent me from greeting the 
few whose ears are in the least attuned to the sound 
of my voice. And I readily confess, it is in France 
above all that I look for them. Nothing that happens 
in the intellectual life of France is strange to me. 
People tell me that in reality I write French although 
my medium is German, and especially in my "Zara- 
thustra" I have attained something that even Ger 
mans have not attained. I venture to tell you that 
my paternal ancestors were Polish noblemen, that my 
maternal grandmother belonged to the Weimar of 
Goethe s time, reason enough for my being to an al 
most incredible degree the most lonely of Germans 



300 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

to-day. No word has ever reached me and to speak 
quite frankly, I have never expected it. ... Now 
I have readers everywhere, in Vienna, St. Petersburg, 
Stockholm, New York all of them people of excep 
tional intellect who do me honour I lack them in Ger 
many. The fact that even in Germany people are feel 
ing how little I am in keeping with them is proved by a 
very serious article that appeared in the Kumtwart, 
which I take the liberty to enclose. The author is a 
musician of the first rank, the only one, if I am en 
titled to an opinion in these matters, and consequently 
unknown. 

As it was my good fortune to be appointed a Uni 
versity Professor at Bale at the age of twenty-four I 
have not found it necessary constantly to wage war or 
to squander my powers in merely reactionary move 
ments. In Bale I found that distinguished man, Ja 
kob Burckhardt, who from the first was deeply in 
sympathy with me. With Richard Wagner and his 
wife, who in those days were living at Triebschen, 
near Lucerne, I enjoyed a friendly intimacy, which 
was of the greatest possible value to me. At bottom 
I am perhaps an old musician. 

Later on illness severed me from these connections 
and brought me into a state of such profound self- 
consciousness as perhaps no man has ever attained 
before. And as there is nothing morbid or forced in 
my nature, I scarcely felt at all oppressed by this 
solitude, but regarded it rather as an invaluable dis 
tinction, as cleanliness so to speak. Nor has anyone 
yet complained to me of sullen looks, not even my 
self. It is possible that I have explored more terri- 



FKIEDRICE NIETZSCHE 301 

ble and more questionable worlds of thought than any 
one else, but simply because it is in my nature to 
love the silent backwater. I reckon cheerfulness 
among the proofs of my philosophy. . . Perhaps 
this is best proved by the two books that I am pre 
senting to you to-day. 

Yours, 
FRIEDBICH NIETZSCHE. 



STRINDBERG TO NIETZSCHE. 
DEAR SIR: 

You have certainly given mankind the deepest book 
they possess, and not the least of your achievements 
is that you have had the courage and perhaps also the 
irrepressible impulse to spit all these magnificent 
words into the face of the rabble. I thank you for 
it. Nevertheless it strikes me that with all your in 
tellectual candour you have somewhat flattered the 
criminal type. Just look at the hundreds of photo 
graphs that illustrate Loinbroso s "Criminal Man," 
and you will agree that the criminal is an inferior ani 
mal, a degenerate, a weakling, not possessing the neces 
sary gifts to circumvent those laws that present too 
powerful an obstacle to his will and his strength. Just 
observe the stupidly moral appearance of these honest 
beasts ! What a disappointment for morality ! 

And so you wish to be translated into our Green- 
landish language. Why not into French or English? 
You can form an estimate of our intelligence from 
the fact that they wanted to put me into a nursing 
home on account of my tragedy, and that a spirit as 



302 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

subtle and rich as that of Brandes is silenced by this 
"majority of duffers." 

I end all my letters to my friends with, "Read 
Nietzsche"! That is my Carthago cst delenda! 

At all events our greatness will diminish from the 
moment you are recognized and understood and the 
dear mob begins to hob-nob with you as if you were 
one of themselves. It were better if you maintained 
your noble seclusion and allowed us others, 10,000 
higher mortals, to make a secret pilgrimage to your 
sanctuary in order to partake of your riches to our 
hearts content. Let us guard the esoteric doctrine 
so as to keep it pure and unimpaired and not spread 
it broadcast without the instrumentality of devoted 
disciples among whom is 

AUGUST STRINDBEEG. 



NIETZSCHE TO STRINDBERG. 
DEAR SIR : 

I think our parcels must have crossed. 1 I read your 
tragedy twice with the deepest emotion; it surprised 
me beyond all measure to discover a work in which my 
own concept of love in its means, war; in its foun 
dation, the mortal hatred of the sexes is erpressed 
in a grandiose manner. 

This work is predestined to be produced in Paris at 
Monsieur Antoine s Theatre Libre. Simply insist on 
Zola s seeing this through for you ! At the present mo- 



Nietzsche s "Twilight of the Idols" and Strindberg s "Le 
Pere." 



FKIEDEICH NIETZSCHE 303 

ment he attaches great importance to being treated 
with consideration. 

On the whole, I regret the Preface, 1 although I 
should be loath to do without it ; it is so full of price 
less naivetes. The fact that Zola is not "enamoured 
of abstraction" reminds me of a German translator of 
one of Dostoiewski s novels, who was also not "enam 
oured of abstraction." He simply omitted "des rac- 
courcis d analyse" they annoyed him. And fancy 
Zola s not being able to distinguish types from "etres 
de raison"! To think that he insists upon the com 
plete "etat civil" for tragedy! But I almost shook 
with laughter when in the end he even made it a 
racial question ! As long as there was any taste left 
in France at all, it was always the race instinct that 
rejected precisely what Zola wants : it is precisely la 



This refers to Zola s preface to Strindberg s "Pere," which 
is as follows: Monsieur et cher confrere! J ai de bien grandes 
excuses a vous faire pour mon long silence. Mais si vous saviez 
quelle existence est la mienne, que de travail et que de tracas! 
Te ne voulais pas vous renvoyer votre manuscrit sans 1 avoir lu, 
et je viens enfin de trouver le temps necessaire. Votre drame 
m a fortement interesse. L idee philosophique est tres hardie, 
les personnages en sont tres audacieusement campes. Vous avez 
tire de toute la paternite des effets puissants, troublants. 
Enfin votre Laure est vraiment la femme dans son orgueil, dans 
1 insouciance et dans le mystere de ses qualites et de ses defauts. 
Elle restera enfonce dans ma memoire. En somme vous avez 
ecrit une oeuvre curieuse et interessante, ou il y a, vers la fin 
surtout, de tres belles choses. Pour etre franc, des raccourcis 
d analyse m y genent un peu. Vous savez peut-etre que je ne 
suis pas pour 1 abstraction. J aime que les personnages aient 
un etat civil complet, qu on les coudoie, gu ils trempent dans 
notre air. Et votre capitaine qui n a pas meme de nom, V03 
autres personnages qui sont presque des etres de raison, ne me 
donnent pas de la vie la sensation complete que je demande. 
Mais il y a certainement la entre vous et moi, une question de 
race. Telle qu elle est, je le repete, votre piece est une des rares 
oeuyres dramatiques qui m aient profondement remue. Croyez 
moi votre devoue et bien sympatnique confrere. Emile Zola. 



304 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

race latine that protests against Zola. After all, he 
is only a modern Italian he swears by verisme. 

Yours sincerely, 

NIETZSCHE. 

NIETZSCHE TO STRINDBERG. 

Torino, Via Carlo Alberto, 6, III. 
MY DEAR SIR: 

Meanwhile someone in Germany has sent me "The 
Father" as a proof that I too am interesting my 
friends in the father of "The Father." Monsieur An- 
toine s Theatre Libre was surely founded with the idea 
of taking risks. Compared with what they have 
risked there during the last few months your work 
is completely innocent. Things went so far that Al 
bert Wolf, in a leading article in the "Figaro," pub 
licly blushed in the name of France. But Monsieur 
Antoine is an eminent actor who would immediately 
select the part of the captain for himself. On second 
thought I now think you had better not involve Zola 
in the affair, but advise you simply to send a copy of 
the tragedy with a letter enclosed direct to Mon 
sieur Antoine, Directeur du Theatre Libre. They like 
to produce foreign plays. 

Outside a grand funeral procession is marching past 
with solemn pomp : il principe de Gavignani, a cousin 

of the King and High Admiral of the Italian Fleet 

i 

Oh, how splendidly you have posted me up about 
your Sweden! And how envious you have made me! 

The rest of this paragraph is illegible. -Translator. 



FBI ED RICH NIETZSCHE 305 

You undervalue your good fortune. fortunates 
nimium sua si bona nesciunt that is to say, that 
you are not a German. There is no other culture than 
that of France; there is nothing to object to in it; 
it is reason itself, it is necessarily the right culture 
Do you want a proof of this? But you yourself are 
the proof. 

I return the books with heartiest thanks, as I pre 
sume you have not many copies of them. 

Just as your letter arrived I also received one from 
Paris, from Monsieur Taine, full of the highest praise 
for the "Twilight of the Idols," its audaces et finesses 
and with a very serious recommendation to lay the 
whole question of my 1 ... in France, including 
the means thereto, in the hands of his friend the Editor 
in Chief of the Journal des Debats and of the Revue 
des Deux Mondes, of whose profound and emanci 
pated intellect, style, knowledge of Germany and of 
German culture, he could not speak too highly. As it 
happens, I have read nothing but the Journal des 
Debats for years. In view of this opening of my Pan 
ama Canal into France, I have indefinitely postponed 
the further publication of new books (three are quite 
ready for press). First of all, the two principal 
books, "Beyond Good and Evil" and "The Twilight of 
the Idols," ought to be translated ; with these I shall 
be introduced into France. 

With all good wishes, 

Your devoted 

NIETZSCHE. 

Apparently illegible. Translator. 



306 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

NIETZSCHE TO STRINDBERG. 

Torino, via Carlo Alberto, 6, III. 
December 7, 1888. 
MY DEAR SIR: 

Has a letter of mine got lost? Immediately after 
reading "The Father" for the second time, I wrote to 
you, so deeply stirred was I by this masterpiece of 
severe psychology. I also assured you of my convic 
tion that the work is predestined to be produced in 
Paris now at Monsieur Antoine s Theatre Libre. 
Simply insist on Zola s seeing this through for you. 

The hereditary criminal is a decadent, even an idiot, 
that is certain ! But the history of criminal families, 
for which the Englishman Gal ton (Hereditary Ge 
nius) has collected the greatest amount of material, 
always leads back to an individual who was too strong 
for a particular social milieu. The last great crim 
inal case in Paris, Prado, was a man of the classical 
type. Prado was superior to his judges and his coun 
sel, even in self-control, wit and high spirits ; notwith 
standing the fact that the weight of the accusation had 
so reduced him physically that some of the witnesses 
recognized him only from early portraits. 

But, now, let me tell you a word or two between 
ourselves very much between ourselves. When your 
letter reached me yesterday the first letter in my 
life which ever did reach me I had just completed the 
last revision of the MS. of Ecce Homo. And as there 
no longer remains any such thing as an accident in 
my life, you cannot be an accident either. Why do 
you write letters that arrive at such a moment! 



FEIEDEICH NIETZSCHE 307 

"Ecce Homo" ought really to appear in German, 
French and English simultaneously. Only yesterday 
I sent the MS. to my printers ; as soon as the first sheet 
is ready, it will be sent to the translators. Who are 
these translators? Frankly I was not aware that you 
had been responsible for the excellent French of your 
"The Father." I thought it was a masterly transla 
tion. In the event of your being willing to undertake 
the translation I could not congratulate myself suffi 
ciently on such a miracle of ingenious chance. For, 
between ourselves, for the translation of "Ecce Homo" 
a poet of the first rank would be required. It is an 
expression of subtle feeling, a thousand miles removed 
from all ordinary "translators." After all, it is not a 
thick book. I should think the French edition (pub 
lished perhaps by Lemerre, Paul Bourget s publisher) 
would just make a standard 3 fr. 50 volume. Since it 
is full of the most unheard of things and its language 
is at times in all innocence that of a world-ruler, we 
shall excel even "Nana" 1 in the number of editions. 

On the other hand, it is anti-German to the point 
of annihilation. I have kept firmly on the side of 
French culture throughout ( I treat German phi 
losophers, en masse, as unconscious counterfeiters). 
Nor is the book tedious here and there I have even 
written in the style of "Prado". In order to guard 
against German brutalities ( confiscation ) I shall send 
the first copies, previous to publication, to Prince 
Bismarck and the young Kaiser, accompanied by a 
written declaration of war. Soldiers cannot answer 



The well-known novel by Zola. Translator. 



308 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

that sort of thing by police measures. I am a psycho 
logist. Just think it over a bit, my dear sir. It is a 
matter of the utmost importance. For I am strong 
enough to cleave the history of mankind in two. There 
still remains the question of the English translation. 
Can you make any suggestions about that? An anti- 
German book in England! 

Yours, 

NIETZSCHE. 



STRINDBERG TO NIETZSCHE. 

MY DEAR SIR: 

I was overjoyed at receiving a word of appreciation 
from your master-hand regarding my misunderstood 
tragedy. I aught to tell you, my dear Sir, that I was 
compelled to give the publisher two editions gratis 
before I could hope to see my piece printed. Out of 
gratitude for this, when the piece was performed at 
the theatre, one old lady in the audience fell dead, an 
other was successfully delivered of a child, and at the 
sight of the straight-jacket, three-quarters of the peo 
ple present rose as one man and left the theatre amid 
maniacal yells. 

And, then, you ask me to get Zola to have the piece 
played before Henri Becque s Parisians! Why, it 
would lead to universal parturition in that city of 
cuckolds. And now to your affairs. 

Sometimes I write straight away in the French lan 
guage (just glance at the enclosed article with its 



FKIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 309 

Boulevard, though picturesque, style), but at times I 
translate my own works. 

It is quite impossible to find a French translator 
who will not improve your style according to the 
rhetorical "Ecole Normale," and rob your mode of 
expression of all its pristine freshness. The shocking 
translation of "Married People was done by a Swiss- 
Frenchman (from French-Switzerland) for the sum 
of 1,000 francs. He was paid to the last farthing and 
then they demanded, in Paris, 500 francs for revising 
his work. From this you will understand that the 
translation of your work will be a matter of a good 
deal of money, and as I am a poor devil with a wife, 
three kids, two servants and debts, etc., I could not 
grant you any diminution in the matter of fees, par 
ticularly as I should be forced to work not as a lit 
erary hack but as a poet. If you are not appalled 
at the thought of what it will cost you, you can rely 
upon me and my talent. Otherwise, I should be happy 
to try and find a French translator for you who would 
be absolutely as reliable as possible. 

As regards England, I really do not feel in a posi 
tion to say anything whatever; for, as far as she is 
concerned, we have to deal with a nation of bigots that 
has delivered itself up into the hands of its women, 
and this is tantamount to hopeless decadence. You 
know, my dear Sir, what morality means in Eng 
land: Girls High School libraries, Currer Bell, Miss 
Braddon and the rest; Don t soil your hands with 
that offal! In the French language you can pierce 
your way even into the uttermost depths of the negro- 
world, so you can safely let England s trousered 



310 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

women go to the deuce. Please think the matter over 
and consider my suggestions and let me hear from 
you about it as soon as possible. 

Awaiting your reply, I am, yours sincerely, 

AUGUST STRINDBERG. 

STRINDBERG TO NIETZSCHE. 

December 27, 1888. 
MY DEAR SIR: 

Many thanks for your kind letter and the copy of 
that splendid book "The Genealogy of Morals." Allow 
me to disturb your peace once again by sending for 
your perusal a short poetical sketch. It contains my 
views on the problem of conscience pangs, and had 
already been written before I came across your works. 
Please take no notice of such of my puerilities as 
the forecast of the future of women and the remarks 
about European peace, a subject which was an epi 
demic in Switzerland, where I was staying at the 
time I wrote "Pangs of Conscience." 

I wish you a Happy New Year and beg to assure you 
once again of my deepest admiration. 

Yours, 
AUGUST STRINDBERG. 

NIETZSCHE TO STRINDBERG. 

Turin, December 31, 1888. 
DEAR SIR: 

You will hear from me shortly about your short 
story it goes off like a gunshot. I have appointed 
a meeting day of monarchs in Rome. I shall order 
to be shot. 



FKIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 311 

Ail revoir! For we shall surely see each other 
again. 

On one condition only : let us divorce. 

NIETZSCHE CAESAR. 

STRINDBERG TO NIETZSCHE. 

December 31, 1888. 
(Written in Latin.) 
DEAREST DOCTOR: 

I will, I will be raving mad. 

I could not read your letter without a severe shock, 
and I thank you very much indeed. 

"You would lead a better life, Licinius, if you 
neither shaped your life constantly towards the open 
sea, nor, shivering tremulously in the face of the 
storm, held too closely to the treacherous coast." 
( Horace. ) 

Meanwhile let us rejoice in our madness. 
Fare you well and remain true to your 

STRINDBERG. 
(The best, the highest God.) 

NIETZSCHE TO STRINDBERG. 
MR. STRINDBERG: 
Alas! ... no more! Let us divorce! 

"THE CRUCIFIED." 



312 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

i 



<C( V*. I* 



* 



O man ! Take heed ! 

What saith deep midnight s voice indeed? 

"I slept my sleep , 

"From deepest dream I ve woke, and plead 

"The world is deep, 



FKIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 313 

"And deeper than the day could read. 

"Deep is its woe , 

"Joy deeper still than grief can be: 

"Woesaith: Hence! Go! 

" Want deep, profound eternity !" 



THE CORRESPONDENCE OF FRIEDRICH 
NIETZSCHE WITH GEORG BRANDES 

Translated by BEATRICE MARSHALL 

The following letters which passed between 
Nietzsche and Georg Brandes, the eminent Danish 
litterateur and famous Continental critic of Shake 
speare, belong to Nietzsche s last and most anti-Ger 
man phase; the time when his magnificent intellect 
though on the eve of eclipse was at the height of its 
productivity and in the zenith of its splendour. 

One after the other those later writings, with their 
picturesque, suggestive titles, were struck off hot from 
the forge of his fiery brain as if he had some premoni 
tion of the coming catastrophe, and wished to work 
while "it is called to-day" before the darkness of 
eternal night overtook him. ... In loneliness 
and isolation, deprived of the society of his beloved 
sister, estranged from those with whom he had once 
been knit in bonds of close and romantic friendship, 
Nietzsche eagerly caught at the hand of goodwill held 
out to him from Denmark. 

The friendly relations between these two distin 
guished men began in the autumn of 1887. But al- 



314 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

ready in 1883 Nietzsche had heard of Brandes inter 
est in his work, and in the summer of 1886 a mutual 
acquaintance had told Nietzsche at Sils-Maria that 
Brandes had been making eager inquiries about him, 
and denouncing the German friends who ignored his 
books. This led to Nietzsche sending Brandes a copy 
of "Beyond Good and Evil," afterwards followed by 
the "Genealogy of Morals/ which Brandes acknowl 
edged with the first of the delightful letters given 
here. 

"I can truly say," Frau Forster-Nietzsche writes in 
her notes to this correspondence, "that these letters 
were the one bright spot in my brother s life during 
the winter of 1887 and 1888. I never hear the name 
of Georg Brandes without tears of gratitude springing 
to my eyes. It was just when my brother w r as in 
absolute despair of finding anyone who would take 
him seriously or understand what he meant for the 
world that Brandes, through his letters and even 
more through his lectures at the University of Copen 
hagen, showed that there was one man at least who 
was aware of the value and importance of this new 
philosophy and felt the strong necessity of bringing 
it to the notice of others." 

Many years were yet to elapse before the Univer 
sity professors of Germany were to prove wise in their 
generation and courageous enough to lecture on Fried- 
rich Nietzsche. But now the time has come when 
nothing draws such large crowds to the class-rooms 
as lectures on the Transvaluation of Values. All 
honour is due, then, to Brandes, who recognised, be- 



FKIED&ICH NIETZSCHE 315 

fore it was too late to give the philosopher pleasure 
by his recognition, the vast and far-reaching signifi 
cance of Nietzscheanism. 

TRANSLATOR. 



BRANDES TO NIETZSCHE. 

Copenhagen, November 26, 1887. 
DEAR SIR: 

A year ago your publisher sent me your interesting 
work, "Beyond Good and Evil," and in the same way 
I have recently received your newest book. Besides 
these I have in my possession another book of yours, 
"Human, All Too Human." I had just sent the two 
former volumes to the bookbinder when "The Geneal 
ogy of Morals" came to hand, so I have not been able 
to compare it with the others as I intend to do. 

I hope by degrees to read everything of yours very 
carefully. This time I feel that I must express my 
sincere thanks to you for your gift. I consider it an 
honour to be known by you, and to be so known that 
you wish to win me for a reader. Your books bring 
me in touch with a new and original mind. I do not 
yet altogether understand what I have read, nor do I 
exactly grasp your drift. But there is a great deal at 
first sight with which my own views are in sympathy, 
such as the underrating of ascetic ideals, the deeply- 
rooted aversion to democratic mediocrity, and your 
aristocratic radicalism. Your scorn of a morality of 
pity is not yet quite clear to me; nor was my line of 
thought completely at one with yours in your gen- 



316 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

eralisations on Woman as a whole in the other book. 
You and I are so differently constituted that I ex 
perience some difficulty in getting at the back of your 
thought. In spite of your universality, you are very 
German in your method of thinking and writing. You 
are one of the few people with whom I should enjoy 
a talk. 

I know nothing of you personally. I am astonished 
to see that you are a Professor and Doctor, and I con 
gratulate you on being intellectually so little of the 
professor. I am equally ignorant of how much you 
know about myself. My writings merely attempt the 
solution of certain modest problems. The majority 
of them only exist in Danish. I have not written in 
German for several years. My best public, I believe, 
is among the Slav nationalities. I lectured two years 
running in the French language at Warsaw, and this 
year in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Thus I endeav 
our to avoid the grooves of my native country. Though 
no longer young, I am still one of those men who are 
devoured by a passion for learning and an insatiable 
hunger to know everything there is to know. You will 
never find me, for this reason, unopen to argument, 
however little I may be able to think and feel with 
you. I am often stupid, but I am never in the least 
biassed. 

Let me have the pleasure of hearing from you if you 
think it worth while to write. 

Yours gratefully, 

GEORG BRANDES. 



F R I E D R I r IT NIETZSCH E 317 

NIETZSCHE TO BRANDES. 

Nice, December 2, 1887. 
MY DEAR SIR : 

To number a few readers whose opinion I esteem 
and to have no other readers is exactly in accordance 
with my wishes. But as far as the last part is con 
cerned, I see that it is never likely to be fulfilled. AIT 
the more fortunate am I in that "Satis sunt pauci," 1 
the pauci are not lacking,, and never have been 
lacking. 

Among those of them living (to name the ones you 
will know) are my distinguished friend Jakob Burck- 
hardt; Hans von Billow, H. Taine, and the Swiss 
author, Gottfried Keller ; among the dead are the old 
Hegelian Bruno Bauer and Richard Wagner. It 
is a genuine pleasure to me to know that a good Euro 
pean and apostle of culture like yourself wishes to be 
of the company. I thank you from my heart for this 
expression of your goodwill. 

Naturally it will involve you in perplexities. I do 
not doubt myself that my writings still in some degree 
are "very German/ You will feel this all the more 
strongly, spoilt as you are by your own free and Gal- 
lically graceful art of expressing yourself (a genial 
art compared with mine). In my vocabulary many 
words have become encrusted with alien salts, and in 
consequence taste differently to my own palate from 
what they taste to my readers . In the musical scale 
of my own experience and circumstances the balance 

ir The few are enough. Translator. 



318 SELECTED LETTEKS OP 

has been on the side of a rare, thin, distant pitch as 
opposed to the normal average. And to speak as an 
old musician, which I actually am, I have a fine ear 
for crotchets. Finally, what makes my books obscure 
is my distrust of dialectics, even of arguments. It 
seems to me that what a man already believes or does 
not yet believe to be true, depends rather upon his 
courage and the degree of his courage. ( I have seldom 
the courage to face what I really know.) 

The phrase which you make use of, "aristocratic 
radicalism," is very good. It is the most illuminating, 
if I may be allowed to say so, that I have ever read 
with regard to myself. 

I hardly dare contemplate how far this method of 
thinking has carried me or will yet carry me in the 
realm of thought. But there are roads which once 
started along permit of no turning back. So I con 
tinue to go forward because I must go forward. 

My Leipzig publisher shall send you all my earlier 
books en bloc, that nothing be left undone on my side 
to simplify your entry into my subterranean vault, in 
other words, my philosophy. Especially would I rec 
ommend you to read all the fresh prefaces. (The 
books are nearly all new editions.) These prefaces 
read consecutively may, perhaps, throw light on me, 
provided that I am not darkness itself and dark to 
myself, obscurissimus obscurarum virorum, 1 which is 
quite possible. 

I wonder if you are musical. A choral work of 
mine, with orchestra, is just being published, called 



The darkest of dark men. Translator. 



FKIEDKICH NIETZSCHE 319 

"A Hymn to Life." 1 It is designed to go down to pos 
terity as my "musical remains," and to be sung in my 
memory, if enough of me is left to be remembered. 
You see on what posthumous prospects I am existing. 
A philosophy like mine resembles a tomb. One lives 
in it no longer. Bene vixit qui bene latuit 2 is written 
on the grave of Descartes. That is an epitaph with a 
vengeance. 

I, too, wish that we could meet. 

Yours, 

NIETZSCHE. 

N. B. I am staying this winter in Nice. My sum 
mer address is Sils-Maria, Upper Engadine, Switzer 
land. I have given up my Professorial Chair. I am 
three parts blind. 



BRANDES TO NIETZSCHE. 

Copenhagen, December 15, 1887. 
DEAR SIR: 

The last words of your postscript are those which 
left the deepest impression on me in your letter. You 
suffer from eye trouble. Have you consulted the best 
oculists? It changes the whole psychic aspect of life 
if a man does not see well. You owe it to all who 
respect and value you to do the utmost for the pres 
ervation and improvement of your sight. 



This interesting musical composition of Nietzsche s is to 
be found in the appendix to the authorized translation of his 
"Ecce Homo." Translator. 

He has lived well, who hid himself well. Translator. 



320 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

I have postponed answering your letter because you 
mentioned the sending of a present of books, and I 
should have liked to thank you for these at the same 
time. But as the parcel has not yet arrived I will write 
a few lines to-day. I have got your books back from 
the bookbinder, and though I am busy preparing lec 
tures and have all kind of literary and political work 
on hand, I have snatched as much time as I possibly 
could to plunge deeply into their contents. 

December 17. 

You may call me a good European if you like, but 
I am less willing to be dubbed an "apostle of culture." 
All apostolic mission-work has become to me an abom 
ination; 1 am acquainted with only moralising mis 
sionaries, and 1 am afraid that I am not altogether 
orthodox in my belief as to what is understood by 
culture. Is there anything at all inspiring in our cul 
ture taken as a whole, and who can conceive of an 
apostle without inspiration? You see that I am more 
isolated than you think. As for being German, I sim 
ply meant that you write for yourself, and in writing 
think more of pleasing yourself than of pleasing the 
great public, while the majority of non-German writ 
ers have to force themselves into a sort of stereotyped 
st} r le which may be clearer and more plastic, but tends 
to become shallow instead of deep. It necessitates the 
author s keeping his best and most intimate self for 
himself alone. I am often appalled at how little of 
my inner self is more than merely indicated in my 
writings. 

I have no real understanding of music. Sculp- 



FRIED RICH NIETZSCHE 321 

ture and painting are the arts of which I have some 
idea, and to which I owe my deepest artistic impres 
sions. My ear is undeveloped. That it is so was a 
great grief to me in my youth. I once played a good 
deal, and for several years studied theory, but with 
out any success. I am capable of enjoying good music 
very thoroughly, but am one of the uninitiated. 

I fancy I trace in your works certain points of 
agreement in our tastes, a preference to Beyle, 1 for 
example, and for Taine ; I have not seen the latter for 
seventeen years. I don t know whether I am quite 
so charmed with his work on the Revolution as you 
appear to be. To him it is a lamentable upheaval, an 
earthquake that gives him copy for harangues and 
jeremiads. 

I made use of the phrase "aristocratic radicalism," 
because it expresses so precisely my own political con 
victions. But it rather hurts me to find in your writ 
ings that you dismiss such phenomena as Socialism 
and Anarchism with summary violence. There is 
nothing stupid, for instance, in the anarchy of a 
Prince Kropotkin. The name, of course, counts for 
nothing. 

Your intellect, so dazzling as a rule in its brilliance, 
seems to me to fall short when truth is to be sought 
in the nuances of a subject. 

Your reflections on the origin of the moral idea 
are of the deepest interest to me. To my delighted 
amazement vou share a certain resentment that I har- 



Henri Beyle, the novelist who wrote under the pseudonyro 
of Stendhal. Translator. 



322 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

bour for Herbert Spencer. He stands, with us, for 
the God of Philosophy. One distinct advantage these 
Englishmen generally possess is that their unsoaring 
mind shirks hypotheses, while on the other hand hy 
pothesis has lost German philosophy the command 
of the world. Is there not much that is hypothetical 
in your notion of caste distinctions as the source of 
various moral ideas? 

I know Ree whom you attack ; I met him in Berlin. 
He was a quiet man, and in his way a distinguished 
personality, but he had a somewhat dry and limited 
brain. He lived (according to his own account, purely 
on platonic terms) with a quite young and very in 
telligent Russian woman, who a year or two ago 
published a book, Der Kampf um Gott, which, how 
ever, could give no idea of her really fine gifts. I am 
looking forward to the arrival of the works you prom 
ise me. I shall be glad if you do not lose sight of me 
in the future. 

Yours, 

GEORG BRANDES. 



NIETZSCHE TO BRANDES. 

Nice, January 8, 1888. 
DEAR SIR: 

You should not repudiate the expression "apostle of 
culture." How can anyone be such a thing in these 
days more than by making a mission of his unbelief 
in culture? Does it not imply a degree of self-knowl 
edge and self-conquest which to-day is culture itself 



PRIED RICH NIETZSCHE 323 

to have realised that our modern culture is a mon 
strous problem, and not by any means a solution? 

I am at a loss to understand why my books haven t 
yet reached you. I will not fail to give them a re 
minder at Leipzig. These publishing gentlemen at 
Christmas time are apt to lose their heads. In the 
meantime may I be permitted to convey to you an au 
dacious and unique document over which no publisher 
has yet the control, an ineditum that belongs to the 
most personal stuff which I am capable of producing. 
It is the fourth part of my Zarathustra. Properly 
speaking, its title in relation to what has preceded 
it and is to follow should be Zarathustra s Tempta 
tion ; an Interlude. Perhaps this will be the best an 
swer to your question concerning my problem of 
pity; besides, it will serve the purpose of a secret 
door which opens up a gangway to me, always pro 
viding that he who passes through the door has your 
eyes and ears. 

Your treatise on Zola, like everything I know of 
yours (the last by you that I have read is an essay 
in the Goethe Year-Book ) reminds me most pleas 
antly that you have a natural bent for every descrip 
tion of psychological optics. When you calculate the 
difficult sum of the a me modcrnc you are just as much 
in your element as a German savant when he attempts 
it is out of his. Or it may be, your opinion of present- 
day Germans is more favourable than mine. To me 
it seems that year after year, with regard to res 
psychologicis, they become ever clumsier and more 
angular (the exact opposite of the Parisians, who are 
all nuances and mosaic work), and so all profound 



324 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

events escape them. Take, for example, my "Beyond 
Good and Evil." What bewilderment it has caused 
them. I have not heard of a single intelligent utter 
ance about it, much less of an intelligent sentiment. 
I believe that it has not dawned on the most well- 
intentioned of my readers that here is the outcome of 
a sane philosophic sensibility, and not a medley of a 
hundred outworn paradoxes and heterodoxes. Not 
a soul has experienced the same sort of thing as I 
have. I never meet anyone who lias been through a 
thousandth part of the same passionate struggle. An 
Immoralist, forsooth ! It conveys nothing to anybody. 

By the way, in one of their prefaces the phrase 
Document humain is claimed by the Goncourts. Yet 
for all that, Taine may still be the original coiner 
thereof. You are right about "harangues and jere 
miads," but that kind of Don Quixotism belongs to 
all that is most honourable on the face of the eartli, 

With expressions of my highest regards, 

Yours, 

NIETZSCHE. 



BRANDES TO NIETZSCHE. 

Copenhagen, January 11, 1888. 
DEAR SIR: 

Your publisher has apparently forgotten to send me 
your promised books. But I have received your letter 
to-day, and thank you for it. I venture to send you 
in proof (because, unfortunately, I have no other copy 
at hand) one of my books, a collection of essays in- 



F R I E D R I C H NIETZSCHE 325 

tended for exportation abroad, so for that reason not 
my best wares. They date from different periods, 
and are all too full of chivalry, praise, and idealism. 
Never in any of them do I give voice wholly to my true 
opinions. The essay on Ibsen is the best, but the 
translation of the verses which was done for me is un 
fortunately wretched. 

There is a Northern writer whose works would in 
terest you, if they were but translated, Soren Kierke 
gaard. He lived from 1813 to 1855, and is in my opin 
ion one of the profoundest psychologists to be met with 
anywhere. A little book which I have written about 
him (the translation published at Leipzig in 1879) 
gives no exhaustive idea of his genius, for the book 
is a kind of polemical tract written with the purpose 
of checking his influence. It is, nevertheless, from a 
psychological point of view the finest work I have pub 
lished. The essay in the Goethe Year-Book was, worse 
luck, made a third shorter because the space had been 
reserved for me. It is better in Danish for that rea 
son. If by any chance you read Polish, I will send 
you a little book which I have published only in that 
language. I see that the new Ri vista Contemporanea 
of Florence has an article of mine on Danish litera 
ture. Pray don t road it. It is full of the most 
exasperating blunders, being translated from the Rus 
sian. I consented to its being translated into Russian 
from my French text, but I was unable to supervise 
the translation. So now it appears from the Russian 
in Italian with fresh absurdities, among other errors, 
always G for H in names because of the Russian pro 
nunciation. It rejoices me to think that you can find 



326 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

anything useful in me. For the last four years I 
have been the best hated man in the North. The news 
papers rage furiously at me every day, especially since 
my last long feud with Bjornson, in which the moral 
German press has without exception taken sides 
against me. You may know his ridiculous drama, 
The Gauntlet; his propaganda for the chastity of men, 
and his compact with the female advocates of equality 
of the sexes. Anything of the kind was, of course, 
unheard of here before. In Sweden these shrieking 
viragoes have formed leagues, and take vows that they 
will only marry "virginal men." It strikes me that 
they will get their husbands guaranteed like watches, 
but with the future guarantee left out. The three of 
your books which I know, I have read over and over 
again. There are a few bridges? that connect my inner 
world with yours, such as Ca?sarism, hatred of ped 
antry, the appreciation of Beylo, &c., but for the most 
part it is all foreign to me. Our experiences seem to 
have been as wide as the poles asunder. 

You are of all modern German authors, without a 
doubt, the most suggestive and worth reading. As 
for German literature, I cannot think what is the mat 
ter with it ! It seems as if all the finest brains must 
be absorbed by the Army Staff or have gone into pol 
itics. The whole manner of life and all your insti 
tutions promote among you the most ghastly uniform 
ity and even authorship seems to be asphyxiated by 
publishing. 

With sentiments of honour and regard, 

GEORG BRANDES. 



F 1C 1 E D II I C H NIETZSCHE 327 

NIETZSCHE TO BRANDES. 

Nice, February 19, 1888. 
DEAR SIR: 

You have put me in your debt in the most agreeable 
way possible with your treatise on the idea of "mod 
ernity." For during this very winter I am circling 
round the question which stands in the first rank as 
one worthy of consideration. I am trying, to the 
best of my ability, in as unmodern a way as can be, 
to take a very cursory bird s-eye, retrospective survey 
of things modern. I admire let me confess it your 
toleration in criticism and your reticence in judgment. 
How you "suffer the little ones to come unto you," 
even Heyse. 1 

I intend on my next journey into Germany to tackle 
Kierkegaard s psychological problems, and to renew 
my acquaintance with your older literature. That 
will be of use to me in the best sense of the word, and 
will serve to cajole my own critical harshness and 
arrogance into a good temper. Yesterday my pub 
lisher telegraphed to me that he had sent off the books. 
I will spare you and myself the explanation of why 
this has come to pass so late in the day. Make the 
best of a bad business, my dear Sir. I mean of this 
Nietzschean literature. 

For my part I rather fancy that I have given these 
"New Germans" the richest, most vital, and independ 
ent books that they possess, and at the same time I 
claim that my personality stands for a supreme event 



a Paul Heyse, a veteran German dramatist, writer of "Novel- 
en," popular in the last century. The Translator. 



328 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

at the present crisis in our estimating of values. But 
this may be an error, and, what is more, a piece of 
crass stupidity. I don t want to be forced to believe 
in myself. 

A few remarks now relating to my first-born work 
("Juvenilia and Juvenalia"). The pamphlet against 
Strauss, a malicious "making merry" on the part of 
an extreme free-thinker at the expense of one who 
imagined himself to be a free-thinker, stirred up a 
tremendous scandal. At that time I was already Pro 
fessor ordinarius, despite my tender age of twenty- 
seven years, and in consequence a kind of authority, 
something recognized, as it were. 

The most ingenuous account of this controversy in 
which every notability took part for or against me, 
and over which an enormous quantity of ink was 
spilled, is in the second volume of Karl Hillebrand s 
"Zciten, Volkcr nnd Menschen." The head and front 
of my offending was not so much that I held up to 
ridicule the exploded machinery of an amazing method 
of criticism, but that I should catch our German taste 
in a flagrant and compromising lack of taste. Teu 
tonic taste had, in spite of all religious and party dif 
ferences, been unanimous in admiration of Strauss s 
"Old and New Faith," pronouncing it a masterpiece 
of acuteness and freedom of thought, and even of 
style. My pamphlet was the first attack on German 
culture, that culture which it was boasted had con 
quered France. A phrase of mine, "Culture- 
philistine," survived the thrusts of violent polemical 
controversy, and has taken root in the language. The 
two essays on Schopenhauer and Richard Wagner 



FBI ED RICH NIETZSCHE 329 

represent, it appears to me to-day, more self-confes 
sions, above all, more avowals of self, than any real 
psychology of those masters who were both related to 
me as intimately as they were antagonistically. I 
was the first to distil, as it were, out of them both, a 
kind of unity. At present this superstition is very 
much in the foreground of German culture. All Wag- 
nerites are disciples of Schopenhauer. It was quite 
the other way when I was young. In those days it 
was the last of the Hegelians who rallied round Wag 
ner. And "Wagner and Hegel" was the battle-cry of 
the fifties. 

Between "Thoughts Out of Season" and "Human, 
All Too Human/ there lies a crisis and a skin-casting. 
Moreover, I lay physically for years at the gates of 
death. This was, positively, a great piece of good for 
tune. I forgot myself, lived myself down. And I have 
accomplished the same feat a second time. Thus it 
comes about that you and I have exchanged courtesies. 
I think we are a pair of wanderers in the wilderness 
who are glad to have met each other. 

With true regards, I, remain, 

Yours, 

NIETZSCHE. 

BRANDES TO NIETZSCHE. 

Copenhagen, March 7, 1888. 
DEAR SIR : 

You are revelling, I expect, in beautiful spring 
weather, while up here we have had abominable snow 
storms, and have been cut off from Europe for sev- 



330 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

eral days. What is more, I lectured to-night to some 
hundred more or less imbecile human beings. 

Things look grey and sad around me. A little to 
refresh my mind, I sit down to thank you for your 
letter of February 19th and the precious present of 
books. 

I sent you, as I was too bus} 7 to write, a volume on 
German Romanticism which I found in my cupboard. 
But I do not wish you to think that my sending it is 
meant for anything else than a silent expression of 
thanks. The book was written in 1873 and revised in 
1886, but my German publisher took upon himself to 
make no end of linguistic and other alterations, so 
that, for instance, the opening pages are hardly mine 
at all. In every place where he failed to understand 
or agree with my opinion he substituted something 
else on the plea that what I had written was not Ger 
man. Besides this, the. man promised to buy the rights 
of the old translation of my book, yet from quite in 
comprehensible reasons he has not done it; the con 
sequence is that in two instances my book has been 
suppressed by the German authorities on the ground 
of its being piracy ( !) and of my having used bits of 
the old translation, whereas the actual pirate of my 
work is allowed to sell it scot-free ! 

The result will be, in all probability, that I shall 
eventually withdraw altogether from contributing to 
German literature. 

I sent you the volume because I had not another to 
send. But the first on the Emigrants, the fourth on 
the English, and the fifth on the French Romanticists 
are far better, having been written con amore. The 



FKIEDKICH NIETZSCHE 331 

title of the book, "Modern Minds," is an accident. I 
have written some twenty volumes. I wanted to ar 
range a selection for abroad on well-known person 
alities, and thus it came into being. A good deal in it 
cost me much study ; for instance, the essay on Tegner, 
which is the first true account of him. Ibsen as a per 
sonality will be sure to interest you. He is unfor 
tunately not as a man equal to what he is as a poet. 
In thought he was much influenced by Kierkegaard, 
and has remained saturated with theology. Bjornson 
in his last phase has become a mere vulgar lay- 
preacher. I have not published any book for more 
than three years. I have been too unhappy. These 
three years have been the hardest of my life, and I see 
no sign of things becoming more cheerful in the fu 
ture. Yet I now intend to start the sixth volume of 
my "Main Currents," and also to publish another 
book. It will take much time. I have taken hearty 
delight in all the fresh books from you, and have 
dipped into them and read here and there. Your 
youthful productions are of great value to me; they 
make everything much easier to understand. I can 
now climb comfortably the stairs that lead up to the 
tower of your intellect. I began too precipitately with 
"Zarathustra." I would rather ascend steadily and 
slowly than plunge headlong as into a sea. The essay 
by Hillebrand I knew, and I had also read some years 
ago bitter attacks on your book on Strauss. I am 
grateful to you for the phrase, "Culture-philistine." 
I had no notion that it originated with you. I do not 
take umbrage at your scarifying criticism of Strauss, 
though I cherish a pious regard for the old gentle- 



332 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

man. He was and always remained the pupil of the 
Tubingen clerical college. Of the other works I have 
till now only properly and carefully studied "Dawn of 
Day/ I feel that I understand the book perfectly. 
Many of the thoughts have been my own ; others are 
new to me, or cast in a new form, which, however, 
does not estrange me from them. That this letter may 
not be too long, I will only touch on one more point. 
I delight in the aphorism concerning the hazard of 
marriage. But why do you not dig much deeper? 
In another place you even speak with a certain re 
spect of marriage which, through presupposing an 
ideal of emotional nature, has idealised sentiment. 
Here you are certainly bolder and stronger. But why 
not once for all speak the whole truth about it? I 
am of opinion that the institution of marriage, which 
might have been very useful as a muzzle for the pas 
sion of monsters, has caused more distress and misery 
among ordinary mankind than the Church itself. 
Church, monarchy, property, marriage, are the four 
old, time-honoured institutions which humanity must 
reform root and branch in order to be able to breathe 
freely. And alone of these marriage kills individual 
ity, paralyses freedom, and is a paradox incarnate. 
The awful part of it is that humanity is as yet too 
barbarous to be able to do without it. Authors of the 
so-called emancipated and advanced type still con 
tinue to speak of marriage with a mien of hearty de 
votion that enrages me. And, after all, they are in 
the right, for it is impossible to say what can be set up 
in its place for the rabble. Nothing is to be done but 
slowly to reverse public opinion. What do you think? 



FBIEDKICH NIETZSCHE 33 



I should very much like to know how your eyes are. 
I was glad to see your handwriting so strong and 
clear. Is your life, externally at any rate, passing 
pretty peacefully down there in the south? Mine is 
a combat that consumes. I am still more detested in 
these climes than I was seventeen years ago. In it 
self, it is not a pleasant state of things, but there is 
this consolation to be derived from it, that it bears 
testimony to my being still militant, and in no point 
near to making my peace with mediocrity. 
I am, your attentive and grateful reader, 

GEORG BRANDES. 

NIETZSCHE TO BRANDES. 

Nice, March 27, 1888. 
DEAR SIR: 

I have wanted to thank you much sooner than this 
for so pregnant and thoughtful a letter as your last, 
but I have had trouble with my health, and have been 
grievously hindered in all good works. I may men 
tion in passing that my eyes are the barometer of my 
general condition ; after fluctuations, they have en 
tered on a period of general progress and improve 
ment, and have become more sound and lasting than 
I could ever have believed possible. Indeed, they have 
falsified the prophecies of the very best German ocul 
ists. If Grafe, the celebrated specialist, et hoc genus 
omne, had been right, I should have been blind long 
ago. It is bad enough to have come to No. 3 spec 
tacles, but I can still see. I refer to this misery be 
cause you were kind and sympathetic enough to ask 



334 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

after it, and because my eyes have been specially weak 
and irritable during the last few weeks. I pity you 
in your now more than usually dreary and wintry 
North ; how can a man contain his soul in such a cli 
mate! I admire nearly everyone who does not lose 
faith in himself under overcast, gloomy skies, not to 
speak of faith in "humanity," "marriage," "property," 
and the "State." In St. Petersburg I should be a 
Nihilist; here, I believe as a plant does, in the sun. 
The sun of Nice there is really no prejudice about 
that. We have been enjoying him at the rest of 
Europe s cost. God allows the sun, with his custom 
ary cynicism, to shine on us idlers, "philosophers," 
and Greeks more beautifully than on the much 
worthier military heroes of the Fatherland! 

You are driven with the true instincts of the North 
erner to choose the strongest stimulant, by aid of 
which life in the North is made bearable. I mean 
war, an aggressive, Viking warfare. I discern in your 
writings the practised warrior, and not only is it 
mediocrity that perpetually challenges you to come 
out and fight in the open, but perhaps, too, the pecu 
liarities of the more independent and important repre 
sentatives of the Northern mind. How much 
"parson," how much theology, is still concealed in all 
this idealism? I should mind much more than gloomy 
skies being obliged to get exasperated over matters 
that did not a jot concern me. 

So much for to-day, and it is little enough. Your 
German Romantik made me reflect how the whole of 
this movement has only reached its goal in music 
(Schumann, Mendelssohn, Weber, Wagner, Brahms) ; 



FKIEDKICH NIETZSCHE 335 

as literature, it has remained nothing but a splendid 
promise. The French have been happier. I am afraid 
that I am too much of a musician not to be a roman 
ticist. Life for me without music would be a blunder. 
With hearty and grateful greetings, dear Sir, 

Yours, 

NIETZSCHE. 

BRANDES TO NIETZSCHE. 

Copenhagen, April 3, 1888. 
MY DEAR SIR: 

You have called the post a medium for impertinent 
intrusion. As a rule, that is true enough; it ought 
also to be a sat sapienti that it should not be allowed 
to plague you. I am not by nature a pushing person. 
So much the reverse, indeed, that I live a nearly iso 
lated life, seldom write letters, and write, as a rule, 
with reluctance, as do all authors. 

But yesterday, when I had got your letter, and 
taken up one of your books, I was seized with a sudden 
spasm of anger to think that no one here in Scandi 
navia knew anything of you, and I resolved, at one 
stroke, to make you known. The enclosed little cut 
ting from the newspaper will tell you that (having 
just finished a course of lectures on Russia) I am 
going to start a new series on your writings. For 
many years I have had to repeat my lectures because 
the University cannot hold the audiences; that will 
hardly happen this time, your name being so abso 
lutely new, but those who will come to get an im 
pression of your works will not, I promise you, be of 
the dullards, 



33G SELECTED LETTEKS OF 

As I am extremely anxious to know what you are 
like in appearance, I beg you to send me a portrait of 
yourself. I enclose my own latest photograph. Might 
I ask you, too, to write me a brief and succinct account 
of when and where you were born, in what years your 
books were published (or, better still, were written), 
for they are not dated? If you happen to have any 
papers by you in which these facts are stated you 
need not trouble to write them. I am a very un 
methodical person, and keep no encyclopaedia of 
writers on my shelves, or any other book of reference 
in which I might find your name. 

Your early writings, the "out of season" ones, have 
been of great use to me. How young you were, how 
full of enthusiasm, how candid and naive ! The works 
of your riper years are still in parts not clearly in 
telligible to me. They seem too often to generalise from 
quite intimate and personal data, giving the reader 
an exquisite casket without the key. But I under 
stand the majority. I read with special enjoyment 
your youthful work on Schopenhauer, and although 
I owe personally little to Schopenhauer it struck me 
as being spoken from my soul. 

I offer a few pedantic corrections. On p. 116 of 
"Joyful Wisdom" the words quoted are not the last of 
Chamfort s; they are given by himself in Caracteres et 
Anecdotes. See conversation between M. D. and 
M. L. as an explanation of the saying, "Pen de per 
sonifies et pew de choses m inter essent, mais Hen ne 
m interesse moins que moi" The end is ". . . en 
vivant et en voyant les hommes II faut que le cceur se 
brise on se bronze." On p. 118 you speak of the 



F R I E D R I C II NIETZSCHE 337 

sublime pinnacle on which Shakespeare places Caesar. 
To me Shakespeare s Caesar is pitiable, a piece of high 
treason. And what of the glorification of the wretched 
fellow who could find nothing better to do than thrust 
a knife into a great man? 

In "Human, All Too Human," II., p. 59, you say: 
"It is the one sacred lie that has become famous." 
No, the last words of Desdemona are perhaps more 
beautiful and just as famous, constantly quoted in 
Germany at the time Jacobi was writing about Les- 
sing. Is this not so? 

These trivialities are cited merely to show you how 
attentively I read you. There are other matters, of 
course, which I should like to discuss with you, but 
this cannot be done by letter. 

If you read Danish, I should be pleased to send you 
a charmingly-got- up little book on Holberg. Tell me 
if you understand our language. Should you by any 
chance read Swedish, I must bring to your notice 
Sweden s one genius, August Strindberg. When you 
write about women you are very like him. 

Give me good news of your eyes. 

Yours respectfully, 

GEORG BBANDES. 

NIETZSCHE TO BRANDES. 

Turin, Italy, ferma in posta. 
April 10, 1888. 

This is indeed a surprise, my dear Sir ! Where have 
you acquired the courage to be desirous of speaking 
in public on a vir obscurissimusf . . . Do you 



338 SELECTED LETTEKS OF 

imagine for a moment that I am known at all in the 
dear Fatherland? It is there above all places that I 
am regarded as something absurd and eccentric, some 
thing that is not wanted and need not be taken seri 
ously. Presumably they scent that I do not take them 
seriously, and how could I in these days when German 
Geist has become a contradiction in terms? 

I am much obliged to you for sending me your pho 
tograph. Unfortunately I am unable to return the 
compliment, my sister, who has married and gone to 
South America, having taken with her the last pho 
tographs of myself that I possessed. 

I enclose, however, a litle Vita, the first I have ever 
written. As to the dates of the separate books, they 
are given on the title-page flyleaf of "Beyond Good 
and Evil." But you may have mislaid the leaf. 

"The Birth of Tragedy" was composed between the 
summer of 1870 and the winter of 1871 (finished in 
Lugano when I was living with the family of the field- 
marshal Moltke). 

The "Thoughts out of Season," between 1872 and 
the summer of 1875 (there were to have been thirteen 
of them, but health happily said "No"). 

What you say about "Schopenhauer as a teacher" 
gives me infinite pleasure. That little performance 
serves the purpose of a distinguishing mark; he for 
whom it does not contain much that is personal has 
in all probability nothing in common with me. The 
whole scheme according to which I have ever since 
lived is drawn up in it. It is a rigorous foreshad 
owing. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 339 

"Human, All Too Human," with its two appendices, 
came into being in the summers of 1876-1879 ; "Dawn 
of Day," in 1880; "The Joyful Science/ January, 
1882; "Zarathustra," 1883 to 1885, each part written 
in about ten days in circumstances completely "in 
spired." Every sentence came to me while taking 
long walks in the open air, with such absolute sureness 
that it might have been shouted into my ear. Intense 
physical exuberance and elasticity accompanied the 
writing. "Beyond Good and Evil" occupied the sum 
mer of 1885 in the Upper Engadine and the follow 
ing winter in Nice. Between the 10th and 30th of 
July, 1887, the idea of "The Genealogy of Morals" was 
caught, the work carried out, MS. completed, and sent 
to the printers in Leipzig. (There is, of course, be 
sides, Philologica of mine, only that is of no interest 
to either you or me.) 

I am now trying Turin, and shall be here till June 
5th, when I go on to the Engadine. So far, I find it 
severely wintry and raw. But the town itself in its 
superb serenity appeals to my instincts. It has the 
most beautiful pavement in the world. 

Hearty greetings from 

Yours most gratefully, 

NIETZSCHE. 

Alas! I know neither Danish nor Swedish. 

VITA (enclosed) 

I was born on the 15th of October, 1844, on the bat 
tlefield of Ltitzen. The first name I remember was 
that of Gustavus Adolphus. My ancestors were Poles 
belonging to the aristocracy (Niezky). The type 



340 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

seems to be well preserved, in spite of three German 
mothers. Abroad I am generally taken for a Pole. 
In the visitors list at Nice only this winter I was en 
tered as a Pole. They tell me that my head is fa 
miliar in MatejkoV pictures. My grandmother mixed 
in the Schiller-Goethe circles of Weimar; her brother 
succeeded Herder in the post of Weimar s General-Su 
perintendent. It was my good fortune to be a pupil 
at the celebrated and historic Pforta School, where 
so many (Klopstock, Fichte, Schlegel, Ranke, &c.) 
who have added lustre to German literature preceded 
me. We had teachers who would have been (or have 
been) creditable to every University. I next studied 
in Bonn, later on at Leipzig, where the venerable 
Ritschl, at that time the premier philologist of Ger 
many, singled me out for distinction from the first. At 
twenty-two years of age I was a contributor to the 
Litter arischcs Ccutralblatt (edited by Zarncke). The 
founding of the Philological Society of Leipzig, which 
still exists, originated with me. In the winter of 1868- 
69 the University of Bale offered me a professorial 
chair, before I had even been made doctor. Where 
upon the Leipzig University did me the extraordinary 
honour of conferring on me the degree of Doctor with 
out any examination or dissertation being required. 

I stayed at Bale from 1869 till 1879. It became 
necessary for me to give up my rights as a German 
subject, owing to the fact that as an officer in the 
Horse Artillery I was too often called out and dis 
turbed in my academic duties. 



Famous Polish painter (1838-93). Translator. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 341 

Nevertheless. I understand the use at least of two 
weapons, sabre and cannon, and perhaps I know some 
thing about a third. All went smoothly at Bale. It 
often happened at promotion examinations for the 
Doctorate that the examiner was younger than the 
examinee! A great advantage I enjoyed there was 
the genial relations existing between Jakob Burck- 
hardt and myself; something quite unusual on the 
part of that hermit-like thinker, who lived a very re 
tired life. 

Another still more incalculable advantage w T as that 
from the beginning of my residence in Bale a quite 
unusual intimacy sprang up between me and Richard 
and Cosima Wagner, who at that time were living on 
their country estate, Triebschen, on the lake of Lu 
cerne, as much cut off from all their earlier connec 
tions as if they were on a desert island. For several 
years we shared every joy and sorrow ; a friendship of 
unbounded confidence. You will find that in Wag 
ner s collected works, Vol. VII., there is printed an 
epistle to me apropos of the "Birth of Tragedy." My 
relations with them brought me in contact with a 
large circle of interesting men and women, in fact, the 
best society that moves between St. Petersburg and 
Paris. Towards 1876 my health began to decline. I 
spent a winter in Sorrento with my old friend Baro 
ness Meysenbug (author of Memoireii einer Idealis- 
tin) and Dr. Ree, with whom I was then in sympathy. 
It did me no good. An exceedingly painful and stub 
born form of headache set in that exhausted all my 
strength. As years went on it increased, and reached 
such a. climax of habitual suffering that the year con- 



342 SELECTED LETTERS DP 

tained for me at that time two hundred days of tor 
ture. The cause of the malady must have been en 
tirely local, as any kind of neuro-pathological grounds 
for it were absent. I never had the least sign of men 
tal disturbance, no fever, no fainting. My pulse was 
the whole time as slow as the first Napoleon s (60). 
My speciality was to endure excruciating pain and 
cru et vert with an absolutely clear brain for two or 
three days on end, vomiting bile the whole time. A 
report got wind that I was in an asylum (indeed, that 
I had died there). Nothing could have been further 
from the truth. My mind did not really mature until 
this frightful time. Evidence of it is "Dawn of Day", 
which I wrote in 1881 during a winter of unspeakable 
wretchedness in Genoa, beyond reach of doctors, 
friends, and relations. I composed the book with a 
minimum of health and strength, so it stands for a 
kind of Dynamometer of my powers. From 1882 on 
wards I progressed, even if slowly, towards recovery. 
The crisis was overcome (my father died young, at 
exactly the same age at which I myself was at death s 
door). Even to-day I have to be extremely careful; 
certain conditions, climatic and meteorological, are in 
dispensable. It is not choice, but compulsion, which 
takes me every summer to the Upper Engadine and 
every winter to the Riviera. 

Finally, this illness has been of the very greatest 
help to me ; it has set me free ; it has restored me the 
courage to be myself. My instincts are those of a 
brave, even of a military, beast. The prolonged strug 
gle has slightly exasperated my pride of spirit. After 
all, am I a philosopher? But what does it matter? 



FKIEDKICH NIETZSCHE 343 

BBANDES TO NIETZSCHE. 

Copenhagen, April 29th, 1888. 
DEAR SIR : 

The first time I lectured on your works the hall was 
not quite full, so few knowing at all who and what 
you are. But a leading newspaper reported my lec 
ture, and I myself wrote an article on you, so that 
the next time there was hardly standing room in the 
hall. Nearly three hundred listeners follow with the 
utmost attention my exposition of your philosophy. 
Still, I have not dared to repeat the lecture in this in 
stance, as has been my custom for several years, be 
cause the theme is so far from popular. It is my hope 
in this manner to procure you some good readers in 
the North. 

Your books, very beautifully bound, are now ranged 
in one of my book-cases. I should like to possess 
everything that you have published. When you of 
fered me, in your first letter, a musical work which 
you had composed called "A Hymn to Life" I declined 
the gift out of modesty, feeling that I was not a very 
competent musician. Now I think that through my 
interest in it I may be deserving of the work, and 
shall be extremely indebted to you if you will kindly 
send it to me. I fancy that I may find a summary 
of the impression of my hearers in these words of 
a young painter: "All this is so interesting because 
it does not deal with books but with life." If there is 
anything that does not please in your ideas it is only 
that they sometimes put matters too much to ex 
tremes. It wasn t kind of you to send me no photo 
graph; my only reason for sending you mine was to 



344 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

put you in my debt. It really is not much trouble to 
sit for a few minutes before a camera, and one knows 
a man better when one has some notion of his appear 
ance. 

Yours with devoted regards, 

GEORG BRANDES. 



NIETZSCHE TO BRANDES. 

Turin, May 4th, 1888. 
DEAR SIR: 

What you tell me causes me the greatest pleasure, 
and I must confess even more surprise. Be assured 
that I shall not forget it of you. You know that all 
hermits have retentive memories ! Meanwhile, I hope 
my photograph has reached you. As a matter of 
course, I immediately took steps (not to get photo 
graphed exactly, for I entertain a profound mistrust 
of ordinary photographers), but to get someone who 
possesses a photograph of me to part with it ! I may 
have succeeded, but I do not know for certain. In 
any case, I will seize the opportunity the next time I 
am in Munich probably this autumn to get myself 
done in effigy. The "Hymn to Life" shall start on its 
journey to Copenhagen one day soon. We philoso 
phers appreciate nothing so much as to be mistaken 
for artists. Moreover, I am told by leading and com 
petent judges that the hymn is in every way good for 
representation, and its performance would be certain 
of success. The praise which pleases me most is that 
it is pronounced "pure in phrasing." Mottl, the 
distinguished Carlsruhe conductor (you know he con- 



FBIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 345 

ducted the Bayreuth festivals) has suggested giving 
a performance of it. 

From Italy comes the news that my point of view 
in the second volume of "Thoughts Out of Season" 
was honoured by being very favourably alluded to in 
a resume on the history of German literature by a 
Viennese savant, Dr. von Zackauer, who winds up 
his article with it in the Archivio Storico of Flor 
ence. 

The last few weeks in Turin, where I shall be till 
June 5th, have been better than any I have had for 
years past. Above all, they have been more philo 
sophic. Nearly every day I have for two hours reached 
such a point of energy that I have been able to review 
from an eminence my conception as a whole, all the 
enormous host of problems lying spread out at my 
feet in relief and clear in outline. Such a feat re 
quires a maximum of strength which I scarcely dared 
hope ever would be mine again. Everything fits into 
its place, and for years has been tending in the right 
direction ; a man builds his philosophy like a beaver ; 
he is necessary, yet does not know it. ... Yet 
one must see it all as I have seen it to be able to be 
lieve his eyes. I am in such good form, so braced, 
so lightened of a burden I can make a merry little 
quip out of the gravest matters. How has it all come 
about? Do I not owe it to the dear North winds, the 
North winds which do not always blow from the Alps, 
but bring messages too from Copenhagen? 

Grateful greetings from your 

NIETZSCHE. 



346 SELECTED LETTEES OF 

NIETZSCHE TO BRANDES. 

Turin, May 23rd, 1888. 
DEAR SIR : 

I don t want to leave Turin without expressing to 
you once more what a large share you have had in my 
first, for a long time, satisfactory spring. The history 
of my springs for the last fifteen years at least is a ter 
rible tale of decadence and weakness. Places seem 
to make no difference ; it was as if there was no pana 
cea, no diet, no climate that could alter the essen 
tially depressing character of that season. But now, 
behold Turin! And the first good tidings, your tid 
ings, dear Sir, which have given proof that I live. . . . 
For I am in the habit now and then of forgetting 
that I am alive. An accident, a question reminded 
me this very day that a leading concept of life is 
extinguished in me. I mean the conception of "fu 
ture." No wish, not a breath of a wish in front of 
me! Simply a calm sea! Why should not a day in 
my seventieth year resemble exactly my days at pres 
ent? Is it that I have lived too long in proximity to 
death to open my eyes any more on beautiful possi 
bilities? Anyhow it is a fact that I limit myself to 
taking no thought further than to-day and to-mor 
row. I arrange to-day for what is to happen to-mor 
row, but for no day beyond. That may be irrational, 
unpractical, and perhaps unchristian. Did not the 
Sermoniser on the Mount forbid this taking thought 
for the morrow but it seems to me in the highest 
degree philosophic. ... It gives me a greater 
respect for myself than I formerly had. I have grasped 



FBI ED RICH NIETZSCHE 347 

the fact that I have unlearnt the art of wishing with 
out having intended it. 

These halcyon weeks have been employed in "trans 
valuing values." You understand this process? In 
reality the alchemist is the most serviceable sort of 
creature there is; I mean that he converts something 
base and despised into something of value, and even 
into gold. He alone creates wealth, others only re 
fashion. My task this time has been quite unique; I 
have asked myself what has hitherto been most hated, 
feared, and scorned by men . . . and just out of that I 
have manufactured my gold. . . . 

It s only to be hoped that I shall not be reproached 
for counterfeit coinage. But I shall be, of course! 
Has my photograph reached you? In such an excep 
tional case my mother has kindly consented to save 
me from appearing ungracious. I trust, too, that my 
Leipzig publisher, G. W. Fritzsch, has discharged his 
duty and despatched the Hymn. To wind up with, I 
own to a piece of inquisitiveness. As it was not 
granted me to listen at a crack of the door in order 
to gain some information about myself, I should be 
glad to hear something iii another way. Three words 
to characterise the subject of your lectures. How 
much would I not glean from three words ! 

Most hearty good wishes, dear Sir, 

Your 
NIETZSCHE. 



348 SELECTED LETTERS OP 

BBANDES TO NIETZSCHE. 

Copenhagen, May 23rd, 1888. 
DEAR SIR: 

Many thanks for letter, photo, and music. Letter 
and music gave me unmitigated delight, but the photo 
graph might have been better. It is a profile picture 
done at Naumburg, characteristic in outline, but with 
far too little expression. Surely you must look dif 
ferent from that? The man who wrote "Zarathustra" 
must at the same time have inscribed many more 
secrets on his features. 

I finished my lectures on Friedrich Nietzsche be 
fore Whitsun. They ended, as the newspapers say, 
with an ovation. The "ovation" is almost entirely to 
your credit, not mine. I give myself the pleasure of 
transmitting it to you in writing. All I did was to 
interpret clearly and concisely and in a manner com 
prehensible to a Northern audience ideas that have 
their origin with you. 

I attempted also to define your attitude with regard 
to your various contemporaries, to penetrate into the 
workshop of your thoughts, to dwell on points where 
my own pet theories were at one with yours, to illus 
trate where I differed from you, and in short to pre 
sent a complete psychological picture of Nietzsche, the 
man of letters. This much I may say without exag 
geration : your name is now very popular in all intel 
ligent circles in Copenhagen, and at least known 
throughout Scandinavia. You have nothing to thank 
me for; it has been a real pleasure to immerse my 
self in your world of ideas. My lectures are not de- 



FRIED RICH NIETZSCHE 340 

serving of publication for the simple reason that any 
thing purely philosophical is outside my province, and 
I would rather not print what treats of a subject in 
which I feel that I am not thoroughly competent. It 
rejoices me to know that you are feeling physically 
so "fit," and mentally refreshed. Here after the long 
winter we have a mild spring. We are delighting in 
the first young green of the trees, and also in a very 
perfectly arranged exhibition of Northern art, which 
is now opened in Copenhagen. Nearly all the leading 
French artists, both painters and sculptors, are ex 
hibiting in it as well. Nevertheless, I long to be on 
the wing, but am obliged to stay. 

I am afraid all this cannot interest you. I have for 
gotten to mention that if you don t know the Icelandic 
Sagas, you ought to study them. You would find 
much in them to support your hypothesis and the 
ories concerning the morals of a master race. There is 
one very small detail in which you are not accurate. 
Gothic has certainly nothing to do with God, nor with 
good. It is connected with U lessen, to pour; he who 
emits the sperm, and signifies stallion or male. On 
the other hand, philologists here hold that your sug 
gestion bonus duonus is strikingly apt. 

I trust that you and I are never to become quite 
strangers again in future. 

I am, 

Your faithful reader and admirer, 
GEORG BRANDES. 



350 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

NIETZSCHE TO BRANDES. 
(Post-card.) 

Turin, May 27th, 1888. 

DEAR SIR : 

What eyes yours are! It is quite true that the 
Nietzsche of the photograph is not the author of "Za- 
rathustra." He is two or three years too young. I 
am much indebted to you for the etymology of "Gote" 
(Goth) ; it is simply godly. 

I presume that to-day you will be reading a letter 
from me. 

Yours always gratefully, 

N . 



NIETZSCHE TO BRANDES. 

Sils-Maria, September 13, 1888. 
DEAR SIR: 

Herewith may I have the pleasure of recalling my 
self to you by sending you a present of a mischievous 
little piece of writing which all the same was very 
seriously meant? It dates from the bright days at 
Turin, but in the meanwhile evil days came in abun 
dance, and such a decline in health, courage, and 
"Will to live" to use Schopenhauerean language 
that soon the little spring idyll seemed almost as if it 
had never been. Luckily, I got out of it while it 
lasted yet another document, the "Case of Wagner: 
a Problem for Musicians." Malicious tongues are 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 351 

sure to interpret this as "The Fall of Wagner." 1 
I insist on your just glancing at this bit of musi 
cian s psychology, no matter how much you may de 
fend yourself against music, the most importunate of 
all the Muses. For, my dear Sir Cosmopolitan, you 
are far too European in your tastes not to discern a 
hundred times more in it than my so-called compa 
triots, the "musical Germans." I am, to sum up, in 
such a case connoisseur in rebus ct personis, 2 and hap 
pily a musician by instinct to such an extent that 
the problem of value which is the root of this matter 
can be (in my opinion) approached and solved via 
music. 

Really, the treatise might almost be said to be writ 
ten in French; it would possibly be easier to trans 
late into French than into German. Can you give me 
a few Russian and French addresses of people to 
whom it would be of some sense to post the treatise? 
In a few months you may expect something philo 
sophical from me under the title of "Musings of a 
Psychologist." 3 I manage to tell the world, including 
the talented nation of Germans, many home truths 
pleasant and unpleasant. But all this is chiefly noth 
ing but recreation from the subject-in-chief, which last 
is called "Transvaluation of all Values." Europe will 
be compelled to discover a Siberia bad enough for the 
originator of this tentative attempt at valuing. 



The German title is Der Fall Wagner; Vol. VII of Eng 
lish edition. Translator. 

-In things and persons. Translator. 

3 He changed this title later to "Twilight of the Idols." Vol. 
XVI of authorized translation. Translator. 



352 SELECTED LETTEKS OF 

I hope you will respond to my flippant letter with 
one of your characteristically "resolute" epistles. 

Yours always, 

With friendly regards and remembrances, 

DR. NIETZSCHE. 

(Address till middle of November, TURIN, ITALY 
(ferma in posta.) 

BRANDES TO NIETZSCHE. 

Copenhagen, October 6th, 1888. 
DEAR SIR : 

Your letter and your valuable present found me in 
a raging fever of overwork, hence the delay of my 
answer. 

The sight of your handwriting was enough to 
awaken within me enjoyable anticipations. It is sad 
and deplorable indeed that you should have had such 
a wretched summer. I was foolish enough to believe 
that you had once for all come out of the furnace of 
physical suffering. 

I have read the brochure with the most careful at 
tention and the most intense enjoyment. I am not 
so unmusical that I could not appreciate the humour 
of it. I am simply not a competent judge. A few 
days before I got the little book I had been present 
at a performance of "Carmen." What splendid music 
it is ! All the same, at the risk of making you angry, 
I must confess that Wagner s "Tristan and Isolde" 
made a profound and indelible impression on me. I 
heard the opera once in Berlin, when my soul was bat- 



FRIEDBICH NIETZSCHE 353 

tered and in a state of despair. I felt every note. I 
don t know whether the impression made on me was 
so deep, because I was so soul-sick. 

Do you know Bizet s widow? You ought to send 
her the brochure. It would delight her. She is the 
loveliest, most charming of women, with a chronic tic 
that, curious to say, is most becoming, but she is quite 
genuine, full of sincerity and fire. The one thing 
against her is that she has married again a Parisian 
barrister, quite a sterling man, Straus by name. I 
believe she understands German. I could get her 
address for you, if it doesn t disgust you that she has 
no more remained faithful to her God, than the Vir 
gin Mary, Mozart s widow and Marie Louise did to 
theirs. Bizet s child is of indescribable beauty and 
charm. But I am gossiping. 

I have given a copy of the book to our great Swed 
ish author, Strindberg, whom I have completely con 
verted into an admirer of yours. He is a true genius, 
but a little mad, as are most geniuses (and non- 
geniuses!). I ll see that the other copy is suitably 
placed. 

I know little of Paris now, but you might send a 
copy to the following address : "Madame la Princesse 
Anna Dmitrievna Tenicheff, Quai Anglais, 20 Peters 
burg." This lady is a friend of mine. She is familiar 
with the musical world of St. Petersburg, and will 
make you known there. I asked her once before to 
buy your books, but all of them, with the exception 
of "Human, all too Human," were confiscated in 
Kussia. 



354 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

It would perhaps be polite, too, to send a copy to 
Prince Urussow (known to readers of TurgeniefPs 
letters). He is keenly interested in everything Ger 
man, is highly gifted, and a literary gourmet. Just at 
this moment I cannot recollect his address, but I can 
easily procure it. I am glad that notwithstanding 
your physical disabilities you can do such daring and 
vigorous work. It would give me the greatest joy 
to be read by you, but, unfortunately, you do not 
understand my language. This summer I have ac 
complished an enormous quantity. I have written two 
new big books (consisting of twenty-four and twenty- 
eight sheets), "Impressions of Poland" and "Impres 
sions of Russia" ; besides, I have entirely revised for 
a new edition one of my earliest works, "^Esthetic 
Studies," and corrected the proofs myself of all three 
books. In a week or so I shall have this work off my 
hands, and begin a course of French lectures, ajid in 
the depths of winter I shall be off to Russia in order 
to recuperate there. This is the plan I have arranged 
for my winter campaign. May it prove no retreat 
from Moscow! 

Trusting that you will always retain your friendly 
interest in me, 

Yours truly and respectfully, 
GEORG BRANDES. 

NIETZSCHE TO BRANDES. 

Turin, October 20th, 1888. 
DEAR SIR : 

Again a pleasant breeze was wafted to me from the 
North with your letter, the only letter till now which 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 355 

has put a goad face, or any face, on my Wagner phi 
lippic. For nobody writes. Even among circles near 
est and dearest I have created an irreparable breach. 
There is, for example, my old friend Baron von Seyd- 
litz, in Munich, who happens, as luck will have it, 
to be president at this moment of the Munich Wagner 
Society. My still older friend the attorney, Krug, 
in Cologne, president of the Wagner Union of that 
town; my brother-in-law, Dr. Bernhard Forster, in 
South America, the well-known anti-Semite, and one 
of the most zealous members of the Bayreuther Blat 
ter staff; and lastly, my revered friend, Malvida von 
Meysenbug, the author of "Memoiren einer Idealis- 
tin," who puts Wagner on the same plane as Michael 
Angelo. . . . 

Moreover, I understand that I must be on my guard 
against the female Wagnerite par excellence, who in 
extreme cases would show no mercy. Probably Bay- 
reuth will protect itself, after the manner of the Ger 
man Government, by interdicting my book on the 
ground that it is dangerous to public morals. My 
dictum "We all know the unaesthetic temperament of 
the Christian Junker" might in itself be interpreted 
as lese-majeste. 

Your digression on the subject of Bizet s widow en 
chanted me. Please send me her address with Prince 
Urussow s. A copy has already been sent to your 
friend, the Princess Dmitrievna Tenicheff. When my 
next production is ready, which will be before very 
long (the title is "Twilight of the Idols," or "How 
to Philosophise with the Hammer"), I should much 



356 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

like to send a copy to the Swede 1 whom you have in 
troduced to me with such honourable mention. Only 
I do not know where he lives. This tract is my phil 
osophy in a nutshell . . . radical to the verge of being 
criminal. 

I, too, was once miraculously affected by Tristan. 
A dose of soul torture seems to me to be a first-rate 
tonic to take before a Wagner repast. The barrister, 
Dr. Wiener, of Leipzig, gave me to understand that a 
cure at Karlsbad was also advisable. 

How industrious you are! And I, alas! such an 
idiot that I cannot understand Danish. I can per 
fectly believe that it is possible to recuperate in 
Russia. I count any sort of Russian book, especially 
one of Dostoiewski s, translated, not into German 
( Heaven forbid ! ) , but into French, among those that 
have brought greatest relief to my mind. 2 . . . From my 
heart I am grateful to you, as I have every reason to 
be. 

Your 
NIETZSCHE. 

BRANDES TO NIETZSCHE. 

Copenhagen, November 16th, 1888. 
DEAR SIR : 

In vain have I been waiting for an answer from 
Paris giving the address of Madame Bizet. On the 
other hand, I have obtained the address of Prince 

August Strindberg. 

Nietzsche apparently refers here to "The House of the 
Dead; or, Prison Life in Siberia." It confirmed his own theory 
that great criminals may be great characters. Translator. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 357 

Urussow. He lives at 79 Sargiewskaia, St. Peters 
burg. My three books are now out, and I have begun 
my lectures here. It is remarkable how what you 
write on Dostoiewski in your letter and in your book 
concur with my impressions of him. He is a true and 
great poet, but a vile creature, absolutely Christian 
in his way of thinking and living, and at the same time 
quite sadique. His morals are wholly what you have 
christened "Slave Morality." 

The mad Swede s name is August Strindberg; he 
lives here. His address is Holte, near Copenhagen. 
He has a special fondness for you, because he thinks 
that he finds in you all his own hatred of women. 
For that reason you are to him modern (irony of 
fate). When he read the report of my spring lec 
tures in the papers he said, "It is astonishing how 
much there seems to be in this Nietzsche that I might 
have written." His drama, "Pre," has just appeared 
in French, with a preface by Zola. I am melancholy 
when I think of Germany. What a development is 
going on there at present! How sad to reflect that 
from all appearances one will not see anything good 
in the history of one s lifetime. It is a pity that 
you, a learned philologist, cannot read Danish. I 
am doing all I can to prevent my two books on Po 
land and Russia being translated, so that I shall not 
be banished or, at any rate, forbidden to speak when 
next I travel there. Hoping that these lines will find 
you in Turin or be sent after you, 

I am, 

Yours sincerely, 
GEORG BRANDED 



358 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

NIETZSCHE TO BRANDES. 

Torino, via Carlo Alberta 6, 

November 20th, 1888. 

Forgive me, dear Sir, for answering you on the 
spot. Curious things are passing at this crisis in my 
life, things which have never had their like. The day 
before yesterday, again to-day. Ah ! if you could only 
know what I had been writing when your letter 
reached me ! With a cynicism which will become part 
of the world s history I have now related "myself." 
The book is called "Ecce Homo", and is an onslaught 
on the Crucified without the ghost of a scruple; it 
ends with thunderclaps and lightning flashes, that 
deafen and blind, against everything that is Chris 
tian or tainted with Christianity. I am, in short, 
the first psychologist of Christianity, and, old artil 
lery-man that I am, can fire heavier cannon than any 
opponent of Christianity has ever before dreamed the 
existence of. The whole is the prelude of "The Trans- 
valuation of all Values", the work which lies ready 
before me. I vow to you that in two years we shall 
have the whole inhabited globe in convulsions. I am 
a Destiny. 

Guess who comes off the worst in "Ecce Homo." 
Messieurs the Germans! I have told them awful 
things. For instance, the Germans have it on their 
conscience that they ruined the conception of the last 
great epoch of history, the Renaissance, at a moment 
when Christian values, the decadence values, were 
humiliated, when these instincts in even princes of 
the Church were yielding to the instincts diametrically 
opposed thereto, the instincts of life. 



FKIEDKICH NIETZSCHE 359 

It meant simply the restoration of Christianity to 
attack the Church. Caesar Borgia as Pope, that was 
the conception of the Renaissance, its genuine sym 
bol. 

You must not be angry, either, that in a decisive 
passage of the book you crop up. I wrote it as an 
indictment of the conduct of my friends, their leaving 
me completely in the lurch, both with regard to repu 
tation and philosophy. At this juncture you come 
on the scene with a halo of glory round your head. 1 

What you say of Dostoiewski is just what I think. 
On the other hand, I estimate him as the most valua 
ble psychological material I know. I am grateful to 
him in a quite remarkable fashion, however much he 
may stand in contradiction to my deepest-lying in 
stincts. As for my attitude to Pascal, I almost love 
him, because he has taught me an infinite amount. He 
is the one logical Christian. 

The day before yesterday I read and was charmed 
with Les Maries, by August Strindberg, and I found 
myself at home in his pages. The only detriment to 
my sincere admiration was the feeling that I was 
at the same time admiring myself! 

Turin is still my residence. 

Your NIETZSCHE. 
(Now a "Monster".) 

Where shall I address the Twilight of the Idols? 
Should you be in Copenhagen for the next fortnight, 
no answer is necessary. 

See "Ecce Homo," page 130. Translated by A. M. Ludo- 
vici. Vol. XVII of authorized edition. Translator. 



360 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

BEANDES TO NIETZSCHE. 

Copenhagen, November 23rd, 1888. 
DEAR SIR : 

Your letter found me in the thick of work; I am 
giving lectures here on Goethe, have to repeat each 
lecture twice, and yet people stand for three-quarters 
of an hour in the square in front of the University 
waiting to get standing room inside. It amuses me 
to make a study before such a crowd of the greatest 
among the great. I shall have to stay here till the 
end of the year. But as an antidote to this arises 
the distressing situation that one of my earlier books 
so I am informed translated recently into Russian 
has been condemned in Russia as irreligious, and 
ordered to be publicly burnt. 

I was afraid that owing to my two last books on 
Poland and Russia I should be ostracised ; now I must 
endeavour to enlist every possible interest in order 
to be protected and granted permission to speak in 
Russia. The worst is that nearly all letters from me 
and to me are being confiscated. After the disaster 
at Borki everyone is very anxious. 1 It came so soon 
after the great assassinations. Every letter is snapped 
up. I take a lively pleasure in knowing that you have 
been so productive. Believe me when I say that I am 
spreading your propaganda in every way I can. A 
few weeks ago I earnestly recommended Henrik Ibsen 
to study your books. With him too, you have some- 



October 29th, 1885, an attempt on the life of the Emperor 
Alexander III, near the village of Borki. The train went off 
the rails, but the Emperor escaped unhurt. Translator. 



FKIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 361 

thing in common, though very remotely in common. 1 
Big and strong and unamiable is that eccentric, yet 
lovable withal. Strindberg will be delighted that yon 
appreciate him. I do not know the French translation 
you mention, but they say here that all the best parts 
in Giftas (Maries) are omitted, especially the witty 
polemic against Ibsen. You should read his play 
Pere. There is a fine scene in it. He would, of course, 
be glad to send it to you. Can you imagine that he 
abhors his wife psychically, but cannot physically 
abandon her? He is a monogamous misogynist. 

It is certainly extraordinary that the polemical 
trait should still be so strong in you. In my early 
youth I was passionately inclined to polemics; now 
I can only depict men and combat powers in being 
silent on them. It would be as impossible to me to 
attack Christianity as it would be impossible for me 
to attack werewolves ; I mean, as to write a brochure 
against, belief in werewolves. Yet I see that we are in 
sympathy. ... I, too, love Pascal. But I was early 
all for the Jesuits against Pascal (in the Provin- 
ciales). Clever men of the world, they were right; 
he did not understand them, but they have understood 
him, and what a master-stroke of impudence and 
astuteness they edited his PromncMes with notes. 
The best edition is that of the Jesuits. Another col 
lision of the same kind was Luther pitted against the 
Pope. Victor Hugo in the preface to the Feuilles 
d Automne has this fine saying: "On convoque la 



In "Ecce Homo," p. 66, Nietzsche refers to Ibsen as "the 
typical old maid whose object is to poison the clean conscience 
of the natural spirit of sexual love." Translator. 



362 SELECTED LETTERS OF 

diete de Worms mais on peint la chapelle Sixtine. II 
y a Luther mats il y a Michel- An ge . . . et re- 
marquons en passant qu-e Lutlier est dans les vieil- 
lerles qui cronlent autour de nous et que Michel- Ange 
n y est pas." 

Look well at the face of Dostoiewski, half a Russian 
peasant s face, half a criminal physiognomy, flat nose, 
small, penetrating eyes beneath lids that quiver with 
a nervous affection ; look at the forehead, lofty, thor 
oughly well formed; the expressive mouth, eloquent 
of numberless torments of abysmal melancholy, of 
unnatural pleasures, of infinite compassion and pas 
sionate envy! An epileptic genius, whose exterior 
speaks of the mild milk of human kindness, with which 
his temperament was flooded, of the depth of an al 
most maniacal acuteness which mounted to his brain ; 
finally of ambition, of monstrous exertion, and of 
bitter grudges which create pettiness of soul. 

His characters are not only poor and pitiable, but 
refined simpletons, noble prostitutes, frequently suf 
ferers from hallucinations, gifted epileptics, inspired 
recruits for martyrdom, exactly the types we can im 
agine grouped round the apostles and disciples in the 
first era of Christianity. Undoubtedly no other crea 
tures could be more remote from the Renaissance! I 
am quite excited to know how I come into your book. 

Yours most sincerely, 

GEORG BRANDES. 



FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 363 

To THE FRIEND GEORG. 

Having been discovered by you no trick was neces 
sary for the others to find me. The difficulty is now 
to get rid of me. 

THE CRUCIFIED. 



Nietzsche s sister has added to the correspondence 
of her brother with Brandes, which ends here, the fol 
lowing note: i 

"In answer to this his last letter Brandes only re 
ceived the few lines above on a slip of the ruled paper 
which my beloved brother used for writing his manu 
scripts. It reached Copenhagen after the stroke which 
paralysed his brain had fallen on him. . . . When one 
considers the enormous mental effort of the last six 
or seven months, the strain on his eyesight, in addi 
tion to violent attacks of illness, it is not difficult to 
understand how his strength must have been over 
taxed and his marvellous intellect devoured. . . . With 
the gallantry of a hero he did not shirk the tension 
of fighting against adverse circumstances, but it was 
only by the aid of narcotics that he could combat 
nights of sleeplessness and depression; not morphia 
and opium, but chloral and a drug unknown to me 
were these aids which always had a most strange 
effect on my brother. ... This may account for cer 
tain inaccuracies in the letter to Brandes dated No 
vember 20th. 

"The attack on Christianity, for example, is in 
"Anti-Christ", and not in "Ecce Homo", though it is 



364 SELECTED LETTERS 

possible that he was then still doubtful as to whether 
or not he should transfer a few pages out of "Anti- 
Christ" to "Ecce Homo". Most decidedly, however, 
the whole of the "Transvaluation of all Values" only 
lay before him complete in conception, and was not 
actually finished. On the other hand, "Ecce Homo" 
was completed as early as the beginning of November 
before the painful attacks of illness had set in. It 
may have been altered afterwards under the influence 
of changed circumstances, so that much that is puz 
zling has crept in, but nowhere is there any personal 
animus. The touching allusion to Brandes referred 
to in the last letter to him remained unchanged." 




THE COUNTRY LIFE PRESS 
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